I got myself into quite a lot of trouble with the title of this piece. I was approached by a lovely couple in Harmondsworth to design for them a special chair for their living room. I met them at an exhibition in London and they asked me to come to their house to see the room and talk with them about what they wanted.
When I arrived with they showed me the chair that was going to be replaced. They bought the chair in Habitat probably in the late 1960s, it was one of a classic chair design of the time but now they wanted something a little more personal. We talked about this and I went away and thought about it very carefully.
” I MET THEM AT AN EXHIBITION IN LONDON AND THEY ASKED ME TO COME TO THEIR HOUSE, TO SEE THE ROOM AND TALK WITH THEM ABOUT WHAT THEY WANTED”
I wrote them a letter telling them what I had heard, and giving them an idea of cost. I asked them to think about the brief I’d outlined. “If I’ve not got it right they are to get in touch with me within the next two weeks”. This is my thinking time, I don’t do any drawing in this period. I put the problem in the back of my head. But then, in two weeks I will sit down and produce two distinct solutions to their problem.
One of the things I did was to look carefully at the original chair and note that it was built in a classic square and cube proportion, as was popular at the time for chair design, so I thought it sensible to do the same for the new chair design, this way my clients would be comfortable with the proportions of the new chair whilst enjoying a very different style and colour.
The other thing I did for them was replace the straight lines of their original chair with swooping curves and blonde timber I used calligraphic lines drawn directly on to the job to give energy, and give title of “Whiplash” to the chair. This is where I was told off “I wouldn’t want people to think that I was beating Peter with a whip.” …..Oops!
Many of my designs evolve into other pieces. We don’t reproduce many pieces, but we do evolve them. When I was asked to make a very special luxury seat design for Tom Black I went back to “Whiplash” to see if I could reinvent and develop this concept