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Drawing on artisanal knowledge to create future innovation

Drawing on artisanal knowledge to create future innovation

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King welcomes Manolo Bossi onboard as a design consultant to mentor the next generation of furniture designers and the innovations they’ll create.

With an in-house design team in Sydney, furniture-makers King have been manufacturing quality products in Australia and the wider region for decades. The brand’s design philosophy focuses on both experience from the past and adaptability for the future.

The principles of quality design inform every part of the process of making furniture at King. They are the core ideas that bring together past, present and future as well as people.

“I think it’s important that we’re a design-driven organisation, that we have an established design team and design process. It ensures that we’re able to embrace new technologies and processes,” says senior designer Mina Bassilious.

This way of thinking guides the organisation of people and processes. It starts with an understanding of being custodians of specialised knowledge.

Design consultant Manolo Bossi emphasises the artisanal heritage reaching back to Italy. This connection brings a knowledge of craftsmanship, creativity and “most of all a connection with the objects and the materials,” says Bossi.

Having spent a number of recent years outside Italy and exploring the process of modern furniture making, Bossi brings a high level of experience to King in a unique role of design stewardship. His aim is to share knowledge and act as a mentor to the design team.

“Every day Manolo is telling us about the way he’s designed products in the past and the things he’s learned that are applicable to what we’re doing now,” explains Bassilious.

The knowledge acquired to design and make quality furniture takes time, in fact stretching back generations. Handing down this knowledge through the experience of designers such as Bossi ensures that the next generation at King are inspired to carry on the same work.

This work, however, does not remain frozen in time and it is the very link to past knowledge that allows for future change. In a field where technological change is always taking place, King is well aware of, and takes pride in, the need to be adaptable.

“The machine nowadays becomes very helpful for those who try to translate old methods of making things into a mechanical way but with good quality,” says Bossi.

An institution such as King becomes the meeting point for past and future, a place where knowledge passed down through generations meets the rapid technological changes of today. Innovation comes with a solid bedrock of artisanal knowledge to ensure continued quality.

The design team drives innovation by engaging with different materials and technologies. This includes working with new suppliers or embracing a material that they haven’t designed with previously. As Bassilious notes, it is about “pushing the boundary of what a customer expects and presenting them with something they’ve never seen before”.

In order to produce such innovation, the design process loops back around to the knowledge base brought by an experienced designer such as Bossi. He emphasises the problem-solving required at the core of the creative process and hopes to inspire new designers at King to meet the future of furniture making with this in place.

Design is an all-encompassing process and philosophy of practice. It informs the team at King from the inheritance of knowledge and skills, to the drive for innovation. Tying it all together, of course, is an emphasis on quality.

The team at King are working with a proven formula. It is the creation of quality products by virtue of innovation and the embrace of new technologies, all informed by a strong foundation of craftsmanship and the knowledge of the artisan.

Find more information on King here at kingliving.com.au.