Samuel Wilkinson

ENGLAND (1977)

While studying furniture and related product design at London’s vibrant Ravensbourne, Samuel Wilkinson won several design awards, including the prized RSA Student Design Award. After earning his degree, he worked several years as a consultant, designing for clients such as Audi, Samsung and Virgin Airlines, before opening his own studio in 2007.

Avoiding superfluous details, Wilkinson has an affinity for simple, well-made items that are at the same time visually appealing. His commitment to sustainability is premised on building products that will last rather than simply using recycled materials in his work, because recycling itself consumes energy and resources.

Wilkinson completed his largest and arguably most visually arresting project in 2008: L’arbre de Flonville in Lausanne, Switzerland, co-designed with Swiss designers Oloom. In this modernistic interpretation of a town square, a metal tree rests at the center, with a slatted wood canopy that offers shade and steel seating fashioned to resemble tree roots.

In 2009, Wilkinson narrowed his focus from the outsized L’arbre de Flonville to a decidedly smaller conception when he designed an energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb, the culmination of a yearlong effort to marry design and technology. Now part of the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Wilkinson’s design won the 2011 Design of the Year grand prize from the London Design Museum.

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