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  • In Conversation With: Designer Mark McClure ahead of Clerkenwell Design Week

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    In Conversation With: Designer Mark McClure ahead of Clerkenwell Design Week

    Ahead of Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, Morgan shares an insight into the mind of one of its latest interior design collaborators. Mark McClure discusses how the Goodwood table came to be… 

    Furniture brand Morgan is preparing to once again wow visitors who are attending Clerkenwell Design Week later this month.

    As well as inviting artist David Shillinglaw to redecorate the showroom with a vibrant feature wall, the company will also unveil two new interior design collaborations – one of which is with designer Mark McClure. Ahead of CDW 2019, Hotel Designs turned the tables, asking its recommended supplier Morgan to carry out an interview with its new design collaborator.

    Morgan Furniture: Why did you choose to collaborate with us specifically?
    Mark McClure: I worked with you in 2017 – when you invited me to create an installation and exhibition of artworks in their showroom and I found their whole approach to creativity and crossing over of disciplines very much aligned with my own. That, coupled with the beautiful quality and style of their existing collections, made them the obvious people to approach when I was looking to collaborate on some furniture.

    MF: How was the experience/process compared to solo working?
    MM: The whole process has been so very much smoother than I imagined. Collaborating in general – and especially with the folk at Morgan – brings the benefit of working with experts in their own field. Their knowledge of materials and processes added a whole new thought angle to my own thought process – and Katerina’s creative ideas overlapped nicely with my own even though we were coming to it from different directions.

    Image of Goodwood side table in two sizes

    Image credit: Goodwood by Morgan

    MF: : What sparked your interest in furniture and combining art with a contract piece of furniture?
    MM: I’ve always been drawn to the blurred lines between function and creativity. I’m lucky in that my work can be applied all kinds of disciplines and mediums – whether that be a mural on the side of a building, a sculpture in a gallery, or a mosaic for a table surface. I love that change of context and the change of audience and perception that goes with it.

    MF: What inspired your design?
    MM: A lot of my work is originally inspired by structural and architectural forms – but I’m increasingly contrasting these shapes with more rounded forms which lend the softer, more organic feel to the designs. This addition of more natural forms definitely feels more in tune with the natural grain and colours of the wood.

    MF: What was your starting point for this project?
    MM: We looked at a selection of existing Morgan pieces – with a view to combining the Morgan shapes with my design – so it all started with the choice of table shape. We opted for quite an understated Goodwood base in two nested sizes. This understated shape avoids a clashing of styles but also lends a complementing elegance to my work, which can be quite bold. Once that decision was made – I had a literal and metaphorical framework to work within.

    MF: What is the collection’s USP?
    MM: Bold, dynamic, abstract shapes – held together by the modernist elegance of the framework. The contrasting styles balance really well together.

    MF: What was the main goal for the collection?
    MM: To create something contemporary but classic – a meeting of styles.

    MF: What were the challenges?
    MM: The biggest challenge was showing restraint. It’s hard not to get carried away with exciting materials and details. But the saying ‘less is more’ exists with good reason – and after exploring a much broader range of materials and colours – we naturally returned to this palette. Even this restrained version still feels dynamic and exciting.

    MF: What materials were used for the project?
    MM: A mosaic was made up of Beech & Walnut – both painted and untreated – finished with brass details.  This was then integrated into a walnut table framework.

    MF: Where do you foresee the collection being specified? (i.e. hotels, restaurants, etc.)
    MM: I’d like to think the tables would sit comfortably in hotels, receptions and workplaces. The elegance of the table shapes make them adaptable – while the tabletop design – although distinct and dynamic – isn’t overbearing.

    MF: Generally, where do you find your inspiration?
    MM: I like to think of my work as a landscape. I’ve always seen beauty in the architectural shapes and structure of the city and these shapes are a constant, but increasingly sparks comes from everywhere and anything – with more organic, rounder elements coming into play. So whilst the structural shapes often form the base for a work – there’s other contrasting elements creeping in that might be inspired by plants, fabrics, music, lighting. The melting pot of disciplines and styles is what makes things interesting – it all makes up the landscape that surrounds us.

    MF: What’s the key to a successful collaboration?
    MM: I think the key is to collaborate with people you admire and respect. Everyone comes to a solution from their own direction – depending on their background and experience. That’s the beauty of collaboration – and appreciating those different backgrounds and routes is key.

    MF: What’s the most interesting trend you’re seeing for 2019?
    MM: Playful, geometric tabletops combined with modernist elegance. You saw it here first.

    MF: What technology has made the biggest difference to the way you work?
    MM: I’m about 20 years late to the CAD party – but I’ve only just started using it as my work has become more engineered and three dimensional. I created a bar with a drinks brand last year and taking what is quite a painterly approach – and drawing it up in CAD was a challenging – but exciting next step. To become loose and instinctive within that realm of 3D CAD is pretty exciting.

    Morgan is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

    Hotel Designs is a proud media partner for CDW 2019. In order to arrange a meeting with the team, please tweet us @HotelDesigns

    Hamish Kilburn / 13.05.2019

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