When designing the Willow and Hall ranges our inspiration come from lots of places and one of these is often from British furniture designers who created and manufactured their items in Britain, leaving a number of classic designs as their legacy.

The work of British furniture designers may not be similar to the Willow & Hall ones in any way, but appearances are not significant here: it’s the concept and the feeling surrounding the design which is much more important.

So here are three people who have inspired the whole W&H creative team and I to create quality items which are built to last.

Robin Day FurnitureThe first person in my list is Robin Day, best known as the designer behind the renowned Polypropylene chair created in 1963. Made from simple, accessible materials, the chair cost just £3 at the beginning and was appreciated for its stacking ability.

The design received plenty of accolades, the latest of which was being picked for the British Design Classics stamp series by the Royal Mail alongside the Tube Map, the Routemaster bus, the Mini, and a small selection of other iconic designs.

Robin Day created many other pieces of furniture in addition to the classic chair, but all of them had a few things in common including simplicity, affordability and timelessness. There aren’t so many pieces of furniture that have been manufactured for more than 40 years after all.

Lucian Ercolani British designer

Source: Ercol (http://www.ercol.com/ranges/originals/studio-couch/)

Next up is Italian-born Lucian Ercolani who spent most of his life and created all of his greatest designs when living in Britain.

The man behind Ercol, an iconic furniture brand from the 50’s and 60’s, he came up with a wide selection of great designs meant for everyday use.

Some of the items created by Ercolani are still made and sold nowadays without the slightest change in design and materials. In addition to the ability to stand the test of time design-wise, Ercolani’s furniture is (at least partly) made from natural, sturdy wood, allowing it to withstand all kinds of wear and tear and keep a place in British homes for decades.

Nigel Coates British Furniture Design Greats 3

Sources: Scubism by Nigel Coates (http://nigelcoates.com/project/scubism_08), Reporters Magazine (http://www.reportersmagazine.com/nigel-coates/)

Last up is the only designer in my list who is still with us sadly - Nigel Coates. Some of his designs are more works of art than everyday items, but I’ve always admired the combination of classic and contemporary elements in most of Coates’s creations.

Take an example from the Scubism collection above: a handful of classic chair backrests and legs are combined together into a modern sofa.

Sure, it might look more in place at a gallery than at home, but the approach of taking a classic and making something new from it is certainly appealing. That’s what we try to do at W&H: although most of our designs are time-tested, we always try to add some kind of a modern twist to ensure that our items look picture perfect whether they be in a traditional or contemporary setting.

These three great (in both senses of the term) British design designers are just a few from the long list of people and things which inspired us to do what we do.

We’d love to hear who or what inspires you when it comes to your home decor and furniture choices?