New kid on the block

Trish Lorenz talks to Chris Jackson, who knows that it takes ground-breaking ideas and a diligent approach to stand out in the furniture design world

LTO chair

‘I don’t have a particular design ethos, but I believe every product needs a reason behind it, to avoid being superfluous or ephemeral.’

Jackson graduated from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University in 2002 with an MA in Furniture Design and Technology, after completing a Furniture and Product Design degree at Nottingham Trent University.

Today he trades as Northwards, tutors at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication and is a founding member of design collective Shift (DW 16 February).

Last year he was chosen by Simon Pengelly for 10×10 – a stand at 100% Design where ten internationally established designers each selected ‘one to watch’. Jackson created the 3×3 lights for 10×10 and also launched a range of products with graphic designer Paul Stafford.

No wonder he maintains that to be successful ‘you have to work your arse off and have hunger and passion’.

That passion is evident when Jackson insists that ‘design is a lifestyle, not something you just dabble in’.

‘You might see some lovely architecture on the way to work or an interesting hinge on a bin. You need the passion to investigate further, to enthuse, motivate and progress,’ he says.

The hard work and commitment is paying off. Keep an eye out and you’ll notice Jackson’s name all over the place this year. Habitat is launching one of his lights in Milan and Spanish lighting specialists Marset introduces his 3×3 Wire lights in Barcelona in April.

The chair with which he and Peter Mac Cann jointly won the Promosedia International Chair Design Competition in 2003 is being launched by a Belgian manufacturer at Interzum in Cologne in April. And a number of other projects, including an installation for London Design Week, are also in the pipeline.

Jackson spent five months working at Habitat last year and his take on the experience perhaps best sums up his approach and ethos.

‘There’s a lot to be said for getting on with people,’ he says. ‘Working with people, taking on board their opinions and showing some humility is really important. Whether it’s Tom Dixon or a first year student, I can see the value of other people’s comments. It’s important not to be too precious about your work.’

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