Gordon Russell is to return to it’s origins as a design-led business, following a management buyout by managing director Tim Summerley and Steelcase creative solutions director Barry Wilson.
Current owner Steelcase agreed terms on the deal last week and completion is set for 1 July. A new collection is planned for later in the year and the company is looking to work with at least two designers on a consultancy basis.
‘Design will be core to the business,’ says Wilson. ‘Gordon Russell was an advocate of new design and young talent and we will be looking to work with both young and established designers in developing the new collection.’
The company also plans to re-launch a selection of original Gordon Russell designs. In the short-term the focus will remain on developing commercial and office-led products, although Wilson hopes some items will ‘transcend markets’ and be adopted for use in domestic spaces.
Summerley says the decision to proceed with the MBO is a response to market conditions and a perceived lack of local competition.
‘Looking around the wood furniture marketplace, no one is operating as a design-led, contemporary manufacturer. It makes sense to stand alone because [the company] will need to be more reactive and flexible in order to compete effectively,’ he says.
Gordon Russell was formed in 1929 by the internationally acclaimed designer. It was purchased by Steelcase in 1989.