Etc Magazine's Laura Cartledge Interviews Xobo's Stephan Silver

Posted by on May 16 - 2016

Etc Magazine May 2016 P69 Xobo Furniture compressed

Etc. Magazine;s Laura Cartledge interviewed Xobo's St├ęphan Silver in this month's issue. We thought that we would share it with you:

Homes reflect the way we live, so for Stephan Silver it made sense for furniture to take its lead from how we move too.
"We are more transient, we move about a lot and we live fast paced lives," explains the lead designer of Xobo Furniture.
"I was trying to move away from furniture as static objects that just sit there - if it can move with you, that has to be better."
Coming from an architectural background, the Brighton creative admits he's always relished the freedom that comes with furniture.
The result is that Stephan's furniture balances playful elements with function, which he recalls, proved the perfect combination for his first private commission - creating pieces for a child's bedroom.
"All of a sudden, because you are designing for children, you think this needs to be fun and imaginative."
"A lot of the time architects can be restricted because of all the constraints placed upon them, but this was inside a house - it didn't involve planning - it was so nice to be free and do what I wanted," he enthuses.
"It got picked up by the press and got a lot of attention. From there I designed other pieces of furniture and it kept going."
A pivotal moment then came in the form of a chance to exhibit at a show causing Stephan to take a commercial approach.
"I based it a bit on myself as the initial client because you need to pinpoint it in your head. If you don't have a real person you need to imagine one," he reveals.
"I came up with a funky wardrobe for a studio flat. All the pieces are like sculptures in their own right."
"I did the depth and width of a normal wardrobe and then, instead of the doors, I made it so it could split down the middle."
The result means the wardrobe can open out to transform into a room divider or a book shelf.
This multipurpose quality is important to Stephan, as is the furniture's ability to move as it draws on his other big passion for dance which influences his understanding of people's interaction with space.
"Our spaces are smaller today so why should a bedroom just be somewhere you sleep?" he asks, "Your lounge might be where you eat - it moves about."
While the pieces have traditional roots, based on the gentleman's traveling cases, they are undoubtedly modern.
Constructed from plywood and laminates, Stephan confesses the flat-pack-esque pieces are 'about storage but you see the construction too'.
"A lot of modern design is about hiding that but I like to show as much as possible," he enthuses.
"A lot of them look simple and I want them too, but to do that takes work - my pieces have precision to them and all have an element of hand working to get right."
"Every piece I do I try to develop, so the chair came out of the table design," Stephan adds.
"Being a dancer I wanted people to sit up and have a good posture - it has different stages so you can adjust it to suit."

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