In the World’s Most Comfortable Chair with…Simon Wade
Simon Wade is the Design Director at G Plan. We’ve managed to grab fifteen minutes of his time to answer some of your questions.
Q: As the Design Director at G Plan, describe a typical day?
A: We never have just one project going on at a time, so it’s my job to ensure quality throughout everything we are working on. I tend to spend a lot of my time working on mood boards, reviewing prototypes, as well as selecting fabrics and leather, so a big part of my day will be spent with key suppliers, working on briefs and developing new ranges. Spending time listening to customer feedback is also imperative, as it’s important we create sofa collections that people want, love and will cherish over time.
Q: What’s your motto?
A: It is quite hard for me to limit it to just one, there are a few that I stick by. The first would be “Lead, don’t follow”; I’m a strong believer in creating your own way with fresh and original ideas. The second would be to “Constantly evolve the collection” as we are doing with our G Plan Vintage range – putting modern twists on our mid-century classics.
Q: What inspires you?
A: There’s no one thing. It’s an accumulation of things and people. I love design as an entirety, be it cars, clothes, architecture, furniture, electrical goods etc. From the people who design, develop and manufacture, to seeing people enjoy the finished product are what inspires me.
A: It was launched in a period known for great innovation in British design and music – when the rest of the world started to take notice of us as a nation. The Beatles were just about to take America by storm and become the biggest act on the planet. The Mini was getting a lot of press and the E Type Jaguar was just about to be launched – all of which had an amazing global appeal. We were strong on fashion and Twiggy was soon to become our first super model. We were confident as a Nation and “The World’s Most Comfortable Chair” was all part of that culture and aspirational lifestyle.
Q: We know the World’s Most Comfortable Chair is being re-launched as The Sixty Two. Please can you tell us more about this and the response it’s received so far?
A: The response we have had to The Sixty Two has been fantastic. It is one of those iconic designs that really appeals to everyone. Our older customers will remember it from the swinging sixties, and with all the recent anniversary events in Britain, nostalgia is a warm feeling for everyone. The World’s Most Comfortable Chair is probably most recognised from the classic Bond movies, and if one thing’s for certain, James Bond only surrounds himself by things that are cool and British!
Q: What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?
A: Ah that’s a tricky one being a Designer, as there’s so many exciting projects that I’ve worked on. To be continually cited as the most successful upholstery brand in the UK is always a great accolade and everyone here at G Plan works hard to ensure that this remains true. It’s always a proud moment when our fans and customers send us pictures of their G Plan sofa in their home and when we receive emails about their love for the range.
Q: What three words would you like to be remembered by?
A: Great team player
Q: What’s the best description you’ve heard of your home?
A: A friend told us, it has got “the X factor” We took it as a compliment! It is a very busy home – six of us plus two dogs – there’s never a dull moment!
Q: If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
A: Invest in good quality essentials. For me personally I like to keep everything simple and understated. I often say to people to avoid spending your entire budget on the latest look, as it could go out of fashion as quickly as it came in. Another tip is to add depth and colour into your room by introducing, rugs, cushions, lamps and readymade curtains/drapes. There are so many great value items available now that you can change the look and feel of your home very easily to keep it modern and fresh.
Q: Where is your favourite place to travel?
A: I am really passionate about America, particular California but if I ever wanted to go somewhere to relax, it would have to be Malibu.
Q: Do you have a favourite hotel or restaurant?
A: The Beverley Hilton Hotel and Spargo restaurant I am quite fond of. They are both in Beverley Hills and exude a feeling of quality, class and elegance.
Q: Being the Design Director at G Plan do you have a favourite artist?
A: Salvador Dali is a person favourite of mine. I really enjoy his striking surrealist work. Perhaps what I most admire about him is that he was skilled in other areas of art as well. He has produced some amazing work in film, sculpture and also photography.
Q: What would be the best read you have ever experienced?
A: River Rogue – Ford’s industrial colossus. It’s about the rise and fall and rise again of the Ford Motor Company. Their ultimate goal was to turn raw materials, such as coal and iron ore into a finished car in 24 hours. The team’s willpower and, excuse the pun, drive is something I really respect. I highly recommend it.