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It all started underfoot for Samuel Wilkinson, specifically the foot detail of a chair leg or, in this case, adapted as a pleasing side table. "I have always loved painted wooden chairs that have the end of the legs left as natural wood," notes the London designer." In that vein, here the leg ends are sharpened in a nod to a horse's hoof, which, as he notes, "is trimmed before it is shod." It's a poetic idea realized by a practical reversal of the usual finishing process: instead of masking off the section to remain unpainted, the hoof is painted first, then cut back like a knife-trimmed pencil. The solid oak SW1 makes for a great side table or a complementary pair to the SW2 coffee table—its taller stance and smaller tabletop in contrast to its more squat other half. Besides creating the Hoof series for Danish brand &Tradition, the prolific young designer has been juggling multiple projects from his eponymous studio after graduating from London's Ravensbourne College of Art & Design.
A high-achiever in science and math, Englishman Samuel Wilkinson didn’t seem a likely candidate for a design career as a student growing up in Devon. “In art I got a D, so technically I didn’t even pass,” he says. But it all clicked during an internship with an architect when he discovered computer-aided design. After getting a degree from London’s Ravensbourne College of Art & Design and working for several leading firms, he put his own studio on the map with the Plumen 001. The breakthrough design for a low-energy light bulb won the London Design Museum Design of the Year award among other accolades. Current furniture and lighting projects include a19-foot-tall solar tree which one day might power a city. And he happily says he’s only just getting started. “You’re a ‘young designer’ until you’re in your fifties.”
Design is never static. When Copenhagen-based &Tradition was established in 2010, founder Martin Kornbek Hansen's mission was to produce work that was defined by a unique vision, whether it came from Danish legends of the past or young innovators of the future. The roster extends from timeless luminaries such as Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen to current leading lights Samuel Wilkinson and Norm.Architects to exciting new names Mia Hamborg and Victor Vetterlein. As the company's Kornbek Hansen puts it: "We see a kinship between the old masters, who were avant-garde in their time, and new designers creating the ground-breaking icons of today."
With its library of furniture and lighting extending from the 1930s to the present day, the firm is uniquely positioned to carry on the Nordic tradition of unstinting craftsmanship and adroit use of materials. Nonetheless, &Tradition sees its future in global terms, handpicking design talent and production facilities internationally in an effort to continually produce relevant product and engage a new generation of conscious consumers.