Featured here from left to right: Stasie Panagopoulos, Alinta Lim, Bradley Saywell, David King, David Hardwick, Joseph Romano
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 final instalment, the King Living Design Team share an insight into their design process, what inspires them and where they hope to see King Living in the near future.
Since 1977, King Living has grown to become one of Australia’s most awarded and renowned furniture brand. With a global presence in New Zealand, China, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore, the Design Team now has the opportunity to bring Australian design to all corners of the world. As a designer, manufacturer and retailer, King Living also has the ability to learn and respond directly to our customer needs through innovative and considered product design solutions.
What is a memorable project that the design team have worked on?
We have worked on numerous exciting projects over the last few years, one memorable one being the King Boulevard sofa. Most of our projects start with functionality as the number one guideline in the process. We are acutely aware of how much furniture interacts with our customers on a daily basis and so we want to ensure that our products truly improve the everyday lives of all our customers. The King Boulevard provided an opportunity to bring everything we had designed and discovered over the years from a comfort and construction point of view into a product that makes a bold yet calming statement in the spaces it will sit.
The King Boulevard Sofa
Tell us the inspiration behind the King Boulevard Sofa.
When designing the King Boulevard, we were looking to explore a new type of sofa for the King range, which was maybe less linear than the others in our range, without compromising on our signature comfort. All this in an aesthetic that would be at home both in a typical Australian living room or in a styled commercial environment. The design process led us to a sleek, long and thin base with a luxurious seat cushion, that together with our inviting feather mix back cushions, creates a sofa which will always be a favourite place of comfort in your home, without needing any extra bells or whistles. Statement tall curved legs and a soft sweeping backrest make this a sofa which can quietly elevate a room in a neutral tone of covering. On the other hand, this quiet elegance also provides the perfect canvas for a statement fabric or luxurious leather.
As we are King Living, modularity and functionality practically runs through our veins! We made sure that if this product was to be assembled as its striking angled chaise setting, the sofa could easily transform from left to right or separate pieces, enabling you to reconfigure your space without needing specialty tools or new components.
Does the design team have a signature style?
King Living’s signature style is informed by our design ethos and philosophy. We are always seeking to design products which not only blend seamlessly with our customers’ lives, but enhance their everyday. As well as this, we aim to design and produce products that will be a beautiful addition to their homes for years to come.
Australia’s melting pot of characters and cultures mean that we have a brilliant variety of aesthetic choices in Australian homes. We keep this in mind during the design process and try to create products which are minimal and have clearly been designed, but wouldn’t be considered out of reach. As we have the luxury of each covered item being made to order, our customers can choose their preferred type of fabric/leather along with metal/timber colours to really allow the product to suit their individual tastes and styles. As a result of our pragmatic approach to each design, our signature style is functional, minimal and well designed, yet approachable and honest. These things together help to achieve a timeless aesthetic.
What is the design process like for King? From inspiration to reality?
Throughout the design process we are always considering the end use of the products, and the value it can bring to the everyday. Inspiration might come from a variety of places, but often it comes from discovering a gap in our lives, or those around us. But for every product we work on, we don’t just make a product, we keep going until it is the best possible version of what it could be, and a pleasure to use. We love to innovate and come up with new ways of either interacting with a product or constructing it, and working with our own factory really enables us to be able to do that.
What are some of the specific challenges and advantages you find when designing for King?
As a part of enhancing the everyday through our products, we take comfort seriously. And with each product we design, we focus a lot of energy until we have achieved the ultimate comfort for that product, for as wide a variety of individual body types as we can. This takes time, and countless prototypes to get right.
We also work hard to get as much bang for your buck out of each product and design. We really consider how we can use each component to its greatest advantage. Often this will translate into modularity in products, and our steel frame construction really helps us to achieve this. Without using steel frames, the design process would look very different for us. It enables us to be able to plug in tables, allow for rearranging of backrests/arms and seat cushions, incorporate technology plus so much more. It also enables us to achieve long lines with few legs, such as on our King Boulevard sofa.
Having our own manufacturing facilities allow us to really innovate in the designs as we have full control over the processes, however it also means that when something isn’t working out well in production, it’s our problem to fix, we can’t just hand the stresses over to another company to work out
How has King evolved as a Design focused brand? And where do you hope to see the brand go in the future?
King has always been a design-focused brand for functionality and quality. There has always been a positive feedback loop between sales and customers and the production team, but over the last few years, we’ve really changed how we embrace and explain this story to those outside the company.
We’ve been so lucky to see how much Australians are seeking good design and appreciating the value it can bring them.
We have also worked together with more well-known designers which has been a fun learning process for both parties, and has helped to establish our products amongst trade clients as well as the design-minded public.
Embracing our design story has helped to enable our global expansion, and we’ve discovered how much our international customers appreciate our Australian design philosophies as well. This in turn has enabled us to expand our range of products into exciting new areas, such as lighting, outdoor and bedroom furniture just to name a few.
We hope to see the brand keep growing from strength to strength and utilise our design ethos and everything we have learnt within new product opportunities. We also hope to see the company continue to expand and have new international customers to guide our design process further.