At Home with Steuart Padwick by Abi Grogan
This furniture designer is a long-time GD favourite. He talks us through his rise to success, and reveals an exciting royal commission.
Who is he?
What is he known for?
His tables, which range from mid-century-inspired wooden consoles to concrete dining tables
Anything we might not know?
He used to be a professional actor
Home is currently in the horse-racing village of Lambourn in Berkshire, but I have just bought a plot of land in London to build my new house there.
My first visit to the Royal College of Art as a student resulted in me living in London for the next 23 years.
It’s where I feel I belong. I really appreciate big, design-led cities. Last year I exhibited in Shanghai and New York; it was the first time I had been to either, and I loved them.
I was lucky enough to have a brilliant wood work teacher at secondary school, who inspired me to get into design. As a child I was always taking products apart; I was fascinated by how things worked.
Witty, sculptural and feminine is how I would describe my style. The best feedback I’ve had was that my furniture made that person smile, which made me very happy.
I think my designs have become more playful as the brand has matured. I’m delighted that I have just won a competition to design a nursery table and chairs for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s children it was a great opportunity to create something special.
My favourite material is wood. I love the ease with which you can trial ideas in timber, which would be much more difficult in plastic.
I was involved in a wonderful collaboration with the surface-finish company Armourcoat last year. I suggested designing something to show off a new material called Ductal, an ultra-high-strength concrete, and we developed the Eye of the Storm concrete table.
Becoming the first designer to work exclusively with Made.com has been my most important career boost.
It has been a very productive, successful collaboration. I’m most prod of the Fonteyn dressing table, as it has become popular and crops up everywhere.Â It seems to have created its own personality and has been embraced by so many people, for which I am incredibly grateful.
I’ve been most inspired by Charles and Ray Eame: not only by their designs, but also their principles and how they worked. My all-time favourite piece is the RAR rocker – it’s just lovely. I also appreciate anything by Jasper Morrison; the lines of his items are so pure.
I’m very inefficient in the way I work. Some designs come very quickly while other take much more thought. Even if you have come up with a fresh, quick idea, it can take a lot of time to hone the details of the piece.
My favourite possession is a stunning portrait by the Italian-Australian painter Salvatore Zofrea.Â But my latest indulgence is a power generator, so I can fix the gates on my new plot of land â€“ I donâ€™t have any power there yet.
I love the simplicity of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which is a fable about following your dream. It’s beautiful.
I do wish designers embraced more colour. It seems that magazines like featuring colourful designs, but that people generally still prefer to buy beige.
My legs seem to get the most comments, and by that I mean the legs of my furniture! The graceful crossed pose of a dancer inspired the designs that prop up most of my desks and dressing tables. GD