ercol Design Studio
The ercol Design Studio is based here in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire where our Head Office and Factory are based. The design team work in a highly creative environment to bring you the very best in British design.
Design is central to ercol – design for comfort, design for function, design for looks. The ercol design studio is a strong in-house pool of design talent whilst we also commission both well-renowned and upcoming external designers to work with us on projects, bringing their flavours to the ercol style. Our in-house designers are complemented by a team of draughtsmen who convert the designs into the detailed technical component drawings necessary to make the furniture, programmers for our CNC machines and the highly skilled craftsmen of our prototype team, who hand-craft the first samples of each design.
The ercol Design studio is headed up by Rachel Galbraith who guides the creative development and development of the ercol brand.
Lucian R Ercolani
Lucian R Ercolani, or the "Old Man" as he is affectionately know in the company, founded ercol in 1920. Born in Italy in 1888, Lucian's family moved to London in the 1890s. There he went to night school at the Shoreditch Technical Institute where he studied drawing, design and the theory and construction of furniture. In 1907 he made his first piece of furniture - a musical cabinet, inlaid with mother of pearl. Years later the company tracked this down and we still have it to this day.
Between 1910 to 1920, The Old Man worked in the design teams for what would later become Parker Knoll and G-Plan, before founding ercol in 1920. He designed the company's products for many years. The Windsor range remains one of our most popular ranges over half a century after it was first launched in its original guise, whilst a few years ago we reintroduced some of Lucian's classic designs, which now form the ercol Originals.
James Ryan is designer at the Edward Barnsley Workshop, one of the only remaining workshops with direct links back to the English Arts and Crafts period.
James underwent a five year apprenticeship in fine furniture making and produces one-off craft pieces to commission. When James first came to see us, he just brought in a beautifully shaped table leg.
From this grew the Artisan range which has quickly established itself as a firm favourite. Since then James has produced two more ranges for us – our Savona bedroom range and Mantua dining and cabinet range. In all three you will see James' love of using solid timber to produce beautiful and dramatic curves.
Floris van den Broecke
Floris graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1969 with a degree in furniture design, having previously studied painting in Arnhem. Floris went on to teach firstly at the Hornsey College of Art and later at the RCA. Throughout this time Floris carried out commissions and it was in this way that he started working for ercol, before joining the company and serving as our Design Director for many years.
Floris' breadth of design style can be seen from our traditional Chester tables to our modern Gina recliner – the first piece of domestic furniture to be awarded the FIRA ergonomics excellence award – a testimony to the comfort of the design.
Matthew Hilton has been intimately associated with the revival of exciting British Furniture Design in recent years. Born in Hastings in 1957, he attended Portsmouth College of Art and then Kingston Polytechnic, from where he graduated with a degree in Furniture Design in 1979.
During the early 80s, Matthew worked as an industrial designer for the product design company Capa in London, before setting up the Matthew Hilton Design Studio in 1985 to work with a number of renowned manufacturers and retailers – most recently including ercol. Matthew was awarded Designer of the Year at The British Design Awards 2008.
After graduating from Ravensbourne College of Design, Russell worked for Sir Terence Conran, becoming Senior Product Designer for the Conran Group, where he developed a wide range of products for Conran restaurants and shops. Later Russell co-founded The Nest, a multi-disciplinary brand design agency, before in 2004 returning to furniture design. Russell worked with ercol to provide a modern clean-lined chair, inspired by the heritage of the Windsor chair making tradition - the result was the Holland Park chair.
Dylan Freeth has been part of the ercol design studio since 2011; he has designed many popular pieces of furniture including the Romana sideboard which received the Design Guild Mark Award for excellence in furniture design in 2014. The latest of Dylan’s creations is the Marino armchair, inspired by his values of creating elegant, engaging furniture with great attention to detail, values shared by ercol. The Marino chair and sofa have also received the Furniture Makers’ Company Design Guild Mark 2016 for excellence in furniture design.
An eclectic designer known for an untiring curiosity in her search for matters and materials. Paolo Navone’s designs reflect a combination of flavours and colours of the southern hemisphere together with the taste and forms of the west; rich in traditions, open and continuously in movement.
Born in Japan, Tomoko Azumi trained as an architect before later studying furniture design at the Royal College of Art. Following a ten year partnership at AZUMI, Tomoko opened t.n.a. Design Studio in 2005. Her designs are synonymous with both stunning form and superb functionality, improving the quality of everyday life through visual aesthetic. Tomoko received the Furniture Makers’ Company Design Guild Mark 2016 for excellence in furniture design for her Ercol Flow Chair.
Lisa Gould Sandall
Lisa Gould Sandall has been part of the ercol design studio since 2011; she has designed many popular pieces of furniture including the Svelto round stacking stool which received the Design Guild Mark Award for excellence in furniture design in 2015.
The latest of Lisa’s creations is the Shalstone bedroom range, inspired by her values of developing fresh, interesting products for the modern home by bringing together new trend led ideas and combining these with the heritage and nostalgia that people associate with ercol.