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The larger SW2 in the Hoof Lounge Table series reflects designer Samuel Wilkinson liking for painted wood furniture with the end of the legs left as natural wood "so that the paint doesn't chip off from being either kicked or knocked when cleaning." His poetic idea was to have the leg ends sharpened in a nod to a horse's hoof, which, he notes, "is trimmed before it is shod." To achieve the effect the manufacturing process is reversed; instead of masking off the section to remain unpainted, here the hoof is painted first, then cut back like a knife-trimmed pencil. Broader and more squat than the SW1, the solid oak SW2 makes for an enviable coffee table. Created for Danish brand &Tradition, the Hoof series is one of many projects originating from the young designer's eponymous studio, established after graduating in furniture and related product design at 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.