Scottish designer David Campbell is the creative force behind La-Z-Boy’s newest line, Urban Attitudes. With a candid easy-going demeanor, he shared with us how he came to Canada, his love of design, the creative process behind Urban Attitudes, practical advice for homeowners, and what he’s up to next.
Originally from Scotland, David Campbell completed a degree in Industrial/Product Design from the Glasgow School of Art, and has been in the design industry for twenty years. Focusing his talents on furniture grew from his studies, a love of upholstery, and the “personal appeal of working on something that everybody needs yet often takes for granted.” When an opportunity to work abroad presented itself, he and his wife ventured to Canada in 2003, first testing the landscape in Winnipeg. There he worked as a design manager for Palliser, Canada’s largest upholstery manufacturer. Six years later they settled in Vancouver BC when David started his own furniture design consulting agency, and openly admitted the “damp, and balmy” climate of the west coast made them feel right at home.
In chatting with David it doesn’t take long to sense his love of upholstery and how his major influences and personal design aesthetic has lead to a perfect partnership between La-Z-Boy and the Urban Attitudes line. Created to appeal to the modern consumer and urbanites a-like, what resulted was a refreshing new collection of clean lines, with a simple colour pallet and textures. Interested in his creative process we dug a bit deeper.
As a designer what have been your major influences?
My formal training exposed me to some of the greatest designer’s and their work, from early modern pioneers like: Corbusier and the amazingly talented Charles Rennie Mackintosh - who designed the Glasgow School of Art, which is an architectural masterpiece! – Through to pioneers of the post war design revolution like: Achille Castiglioni and husband/wife duo Charles and Ray Eames. Today I take my inspiration from many areas, depending on the type of furniture I’m designing. I also keep a close eye on what’s happening in the fashion world and what’s “In Vogue” for colour, accent patterns, right down to the detailing of leather handbags and shoes. The two greatly influence each other.
How did your influences contribute to your creative process when designing Urban Attitudes?
Urban Attitudes was such a fun project to work on. It was and is a collection that refers to the very trendy style of modern living. With strong clues and references to the ever fashionable “mid-century modern” look, while adding a bit of uniqueness for La-Z-Boy, what resulted was a strong combination of many borrowed tried and true modern elements partnered with undeniable quality and manufacturing. Like adding a bit of shape to the profile, as portrayed in the Dolce, or the slightly more traditional and classic look of the Bijou with its gently sweeping arms and beautiful buttoned detailing, or the sheer fun of the generously sized Tribeca sectional. It’s all a reminiscent nod to those early furniture pioneers.
How long did it take you to create Urban Attitudes?
Urban Attitudes was a very intensive body of work that took more than six months to get ready for launch. From initial ideas, to finalized drawings and prototyping, right down to readying for market introduction.
What is your favourite piece(s) in the collection and why?
My favourite piece is very hard to pin down. But if I had to choose, it would be the fun and cheeky little number, the Hipster chair. Then again, maybe it’s the inviting and charming Tribeca Sectional, or maybe the amazingly comfortable yet chic looking Beacon Hill Sleeper Sofa, or maybe…..
What current trend in home design do you see as the most practical for homeowners to adopt?
I would say the simple yet eclectic look of modern living. Having the ability to have a bit of fun and mix styles, colours and looks while still creating an overall theme and balance that links everything back together.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give future La-Z-Boy customers when they are buying something in the Urban Attitudes collection?
You are buying into a look that has real lasting appeal. Buy the major pieces in neutral looks and tones, and then as time passes, the feel of the furniture can be completely updated by simply adjusting the accents around it. Such as toss pillows or small companion pieces like a chair or an ottoman.
David Campbell is a busy man and one to keep an eye on! Currently he is working on four new and different projects with La-Z-Boy that will be introduced later. In addition he has five projects on the go with La-Z-Boy International for sales outside of North America. With so many projects on the horizon, there’s sure to be some new and exciting things on the way.
Be sure to watch for David’s up and coming La-Z-Boy designs.