Christopher Duffy

Christopher Duffy, Interview

Duffy London’s designs are ideas-based, combining art and function and playing with the concepts of gravity, geometry and illusion. The innovative and quirky designs spring from the mind of Christopher Duffy, however, he also draws from his talented team of designers, artisans and manufacturers to turn these concepts into quality pieces.

Boasting strong eco-credentials, everything is handmade to order by skilled craftspeople in the UK, using sustainable wood and other eco-friendly materials and mediums.

Some particularly noteworthy designs are the Shadow Chair, that appears to defy gravity by standing on only two legs, and the incredible UP Tables, which are a playful trompe l’oeil, giving the impression of a glass table top being suspended by balloons. Then there are the delightful Swing Table, which will transport you back to your childhood.

Duffy London’s founder Christopher Duffy, a design graduate from the University of Brighton made his humble beginning in 2002 creating products in his kitchen. Having grown out of the kitchen a long time ago, Duffy London now perform their furniture-making wizardry in a spacious studio in east London.

Christopher Duffy speaks to Eleni Zymaraki Tzortzi.


E.Z. When was that moment in your life that you decided to become a furniture designer?

Would you say it was rather an emotional or a rational decision?

I have always made, designed and built things from a very young age, furniture was a field that i came to  due to more practical reasons, rather than any conscious decision I made, as I like designing, everything from aeroplanes to boats, gadgets to furniture, but as I had zero funds to start my company and product range, it takes a great deal less financial investment to design and manufacture furniture compared to a jet aircraft.

I only design things that provoke an emotional reaction in me, sometimes  designing a coffee table can provide more emotional excitement than designing mega yacht , all depending on the coffee table and mega yacht I happen to be designing at the time.

E.Z. How would you describe your work to someone who is not familiar with it?

I would describe my work as a thought problem or theory, realized in a three Dimensions using in the form of furniture in most cases.

E.Z. At which point of your designing process do you think about the materials you will use for a design? your favourite materials are…

I simply use the best materials and manufacturing processes to see the concept through, I make sure to use the very best materials and artisans to execute the concepts, but I’m not tied to any particular materials or process,  they are a means to and end, although i do come back to ply and solid walnut quite often, as i think the most important thing is to use simple materials in a very honest way, and elevate the viewers ideas of these materials, by injecting them with an ideas and concepts.

E.Z. What are the challenges of your work?

Executing the design I have in my head, perfectly in the real world.

E.Z. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Anywhere and everywhere, i see something that grabs me, i develop that thought in my mind for months and then develop the design that comes from this thought in the studio, which take further months if not years.

E.Z. If your were to design a piece of furniture for a historical figure, for who would it be and what would you design?

That is an amazing question, I would design a dining table for Peter Sellers.

E.Z. Has modern art influenced your work and in what ways?

I would think it has , i studied modern Art at art college and university, so I really must have , but I cant think of any direct influences off the top of my head.

E.Z. What is your favourite piece of furniture in your house?

I don’t have any furniture in my house that i like, its all second hand and banged up! I have a very small apartment and I can only fit small pieces into it, which tend to be purely utilitarian with few redeeming features, its a disappointing answer i know.

E.Z. What is your favourite piece of furniture of all time?

That is simply an impossible question to answer, as I like so many different pieces for so many reasons, but for the sake of simplicity, Ive always been a big fan of the STELLAR Console by Jake Phipps

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Duffy London, http://duffylondon.com