Jonathan Prestwich has had an interesting career since finishing university in 1995 and leaving England to work in a design studio in Boston Massachusetts.
Jonathan went from the US to France, working for the next six years with one of Germany’s best-known furniture designers Burkhard Vogtherr.
In 2003, Jonathan moved back to London where after briefly working with Barber Osgerby set up his own studio in 2004.
Earlier this year his Object Collection for OPM Furniture was awarded a Design Guild Mark in the Furniture category. We caught up with Jonathan to uncover more about his career to date.
Who is your design hero?
My old boss Burkhard Vogtherr is really my design hero. I was 24 the first time I met Burkhard. He had a beautiful old mansion house that he had renovated perfectly in his minimalistic, modern style. He drove a Porsche 911, wore an Issey Miyake long black coat and the office was scattered with prototypes for Capellini and Fritz Hansen. I didn’t want to leave.
When did you first decide you were going to be a designer?
I don’t think I ever made the decision. My grandfather was a carpenter and then worked in construction of bridges and tunnels and we used to just build things together, usually furniture and I have been doing it ever since.
What was your first big break in the industry?
After university I flew over to Boston, Massachusetts and went through the Yellow Pages for design agencies. Of course there is a little more to it than that but Sava Cvek, an architect in Boston, picked up the phone, asked me to interview that day. I showed up and he gave me a model to make. I ended up staying two years in the office.
What was the first product you ever designed?
My first chair was the OS chair for Modus. We won the Wallpaper Design Award among others and it seemed to be featured in all the UK magazines. Everyone was interested. I thought every chair would be like that.
What do you enjoy about being a designer?
Sitting with my team working on ideas.
Which design are you most proud of?
OS was really something new. Also the Cafe Chair for Arco. Linq for Davis Furniture and the M75, Davis Furniture’s 75th anniversary chair, which I designed with Burkhard. It is very hard to say.
What is your creative process?
Good ideas can come anywhere at any time unfortunately, but if an idea has to come quickly, I usually sit down with the team over a coffee and talk it through.
What influences you?
People’s activity, culture, political climates.
Is there a product you wish you’d designed?
There are many designs that impress me, usually when they achieve so much yet look so light and simple. Yet I don’t wish that I had designed them. I am glad someone else did. That way I can appreciate what the product is without being connected to all the story behind the scenes. Just to see that one beautiful moment of truth that the product represents without knowing the path associated with the product.
For more information about Jonathan Prestwich, go to jonathanprestwich.com