So tell us more about the Rakino collection?
Rakino is a collection of low lounge chairs that combines soft sculpted upholstery and CNC machined timber frames with an upright, somewhat architectural, attitude. The frame is all right angles and straight lines, apart from the back support rail, which is bowed slightly, as if formed by the act of leaning back in the chair. The seat, in contrast, is a soft, shell-like form with a crisp single seam running around its edge.
What inspired your designs?
This project started in what I believe is the ideal way; with a trip to see production, and this is what really inspired the design. In Hampshire I discovered a factory staffed by some serious experts in upholstery and timber joinery. I really wanted to make the most of these capabilities, and maybe even push them a little to see what was possible. In terms of the chairs themselves I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while obviously being appropriate for hard working contract environments.
Did you enjoy collaborating with Morgan? How was the experience/process compared to solo working?
None of my projects are just me. I think that’s a misconception, maybe brought about by the fact that in our industry, designers tend to have eponymous business names.
Everything I’ve ever designed has been made possible by numerous other people, from engineers to marketeers, craftspeople to logistics managers. I guess the main difference this time was geographical proximity – this is my first project with a British furniture brand. This meant we could work really closely, with numerous prototype reviews as we refined the details.
Benefits of this collaboration?
Working with Morgan’s dedicated prototyping team (Jonathan and Dean) was a highlight. This meant we were able to make adjustments and modifications to our prototypes, effectively on the spot – and nothing was impossible. The whole team were always keen to push the limits of timber production, and the results can be seen in a frame that perfectly blends CNC technology with expert craftsmanship, and an upholstery element that tapers to an impossibly fine edge, something not normally achievable with cut foam.
As Morgan has a product code system that uses place names, it felt only right we choose a New Zealand name – being designed by a Kiwi, albeit London-based. Rakino is one of a cluster of small islands in the Hauraki gulf, the body of water surrounding Aucklands East coast, where people are able to escape the busy city, a short boat ride leaving you with a pleasant sense of isolation and calm. A comfortable low lounge chair in a busy hotel or workplace could, I hope, provide the same feeling.