In the Life Through Design series, King Living explores the landscape of Australian design – both current and future – through the eyes of Australian designers and creatives, and how they interpret the Australian aesthetic in their work. In the sixth instalment, we interview King Living’s Head of Products, David Hardwick, who leads a team of designers and engineers to make sure the King Living design ethos is translated in every product being crafted for the customer.
Design thinking is innate to David, who draws inspiration from his surroundings and how we interact with everyday objects. His deep proclivities to understand form and function from as many perspectives as possible in all considerations, mirrors the philosophy behind every King furniture – high-quality, timeless and unique in style, and a strong argument for its reason for being.
The new Bellaire Sofa in Whiteley Crystal
King Living: What's your favourite King Living product?
David Hardwick: In Design it’s easy to put all of your attention towards future development and so it’s nice to reflect occasionally on what we’ve achieved. The Bellaire sofa was a really exciting concept to develop as it embodied a sense of out-right contemporary design whilst also offering genuine high-back comfort, these two things are notoriously hard to combine. The high-back comfort was resolved with a very clever head-rest, which could be effortlessly tucked away behind the cushion, adding support for the back when not in use. It’s these sort of dual-purpose features that elevate the comfort experience, that we are always striving for. The way it is integrated into the design so seamlessly and the ease of use is a real testament to the great talent we have in the team. It was definitely one of those projects that produced a whole, much greater than the sum of the parts.
The Bellaire Sofa
Do you have a signature style?
DH: Not consciously, I do lean towards a more paired back and simple aesthetic, with a focus on timeless pieces, definitely the less is more approach.
Where does your inspiration come from?
DH: Inspiration can come from anywhere. A lot of cues are taken from the natural world, evolution can be an amazing creator, we’re especially lucky in Australia to be surrounded by a landscape which is so unique and vastly un-touched. Combining seemingly disparate objects and functions can also lead to interesting ideas but primarily I’m interested in observing how people interact with things, what makes them smile or surprised or relaxed? I think the most important thing is to stay open-minded and to try and understand things from as many perspectives as possible in all considerations.wha
What do you think defines Australian design?
DH: Particularly when it comes to architecture, it’s the landscape and Australia’s unique light that seems to have created not just a defining aesthetic but also a design approach that now informs how we live and interact with the built environment. This mode of seeing the outdoors as a continuation of built structures, rather than a separate entity, certainly reflects an essence of our culture and how we like to relax. Culturally Australians can be described as laid-back yet hard-working, humble and practical and fairly straight-forward. It’s these aspects of both our landscape, climate and personality traits that can be seen as defining a design approach or sensibility for Australian design.
What do you think the future holds for Australian design?
DH: I think the Australian design scene is definitely coming of age and the international community is beginning to take notice. The rise of Australia as a ‘lifestyle superpower’ is helping to move the spotlight beyond the icons and clichés that were previously the limit of an out-siders knowledge. With such an embedded history and influence from European and American cultures and the naturally humble nature of Australians, it is still difficult to say that we have a defined character or design culture currently. What we do have is a very unique environment, socially and physically, which designers are beginning to translate into a unique expression through their work. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the industry and to hopefully play a part in what could be a definitive period in Australian design.
If you had to articulate the Australian Design aesthetic in 5 words, what would it be?
NC: Informal, open and honest, minimalist, and relaxed.