Design Hunter Profile: George Harper
Ben Morgan sits down for a chat with Melbourne-based office-worker-turned-designer George Harper, founder of Tide Design
It’s a dream for so many of us; to throw in the office job and follow our creative dreams. Well, George Harper took that leap, going from working behind desks, to designing and making them.
“Design to me is a means to an end – not the end itself,” he says. “Design is all around us, it’s all pervading, and its ends can vary so much – from purely function to purely aesthetic to everything in between.”
George set up Tide Design in 2007 to market the furniture he had been making, also finishing his 2-year designer/maker course in the same year. “I had spent many years in various office roles and was at a point where a change was needed – so why not turn the part time hobby into a full time career?”
Function is of the highest importance to George: “I wouldn’t want to produce an uncomfortable chair for example”. From there it’s all about elegance, lightness, detail and quality for the designer, “and producing something fresh – but not necessarily ‘of the minute’. I’m striving to produce furniture that is timeless”.
Influenced heavily by Scandinavian design of the 1950s – “I love the simplicity but also the character and warmth that they both embody” – George finds an endless stream of ideas coming from his own experiences as a designer/maker.
“Sometimes inspiration comes from things that happen by accident – an irregular-shaped off-cut for example. Sometimes it’s found in my direct environment. But most often it comes down to cold hard persistence with pencil on paper trying to find an appealing form or line.”
There are a few Tide Designs that George is particularly proud of, including the Yo chair and round Lyssna dining table. “Both of these have evolved from earlier designs and although they were developed independently it was great to see how well they sat together.”
When it comes to sustainability George has a straight forward view: “The more sustainable our environment the better – surely there can be no argument. And I think the responsibility falls on everyone’s shoulders – from designer to consumer… The cornerstone of my philosophy is that I’m making furniture that is designed and built to last for generations.”
We hear you on that George, our thoughts exactly.