Tuesday Chew: David Moreland on surviving the design game

Taking a well-deserved break with his family in Hawkes Bay, a slightly weary furniture designer David Moreland reflects on surviving in the design game.

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m a furniture and product designer with a design degree from Unitec Institute of Technology. I spent two or three years working with David Trubridge in Hawkes Bay. That’s where I learnt the art of cabinet making. It taught me the skills that helped me to develop my popular ‘framed’ range. From there I traveled overseas, then returned and relocated to Auckland where my wife is from. I’m still there and for the past four years, I’ve worked with Simon James Design as a production manager. At the same time, I’ve developed my lighting range.

What makes you a rising talent to follow?

The fact I’m still here! It’s difficult out there, just to keep the ball rolling. You see a lot of great designers come out and they’re around for a year or so then they drop off the radar. You’ve really got to sink your teeth into things and keep getting it out there. You’ve just got to keep pushing hard.

Tell us about your latest design – the Knight Floor Light

It’s the latest edition from the Knight range. It was a natural progression that completed the range which includes the table and the pendant. Its proportions work well. By keeping it as simple as possible, it looks like one piece of metal rolled and bent, when actually there are four components. Yet it still has a minimalist, elegant feel. I’m pretty happy with it.

What inspires you?

A lot of the technical manufacturing you see happening offshore like the latest from Tom Dixon lighting design. You see these designs from Europe and they’re amazing in their resolution from concept to finished product. They’re amazingly well-detailed.

What are the essential ingredients in well-designed products?

I aspire to produce pieces with the kind of attention to detail you see in European design. That’s one of the things the Knight Light Range deals with – attention to detail – and the product has to have a long life. You need to think about the impact production has on the environment. Of course you need to consume when you’re producing product, but I like to think my furniture will be around for a long time. It comes down to being well-made, aesthetically pleasing and timeless.

Pet hates?

The fact I can’t afford a lot of good design that I love. A lot of good design is almost unattainable. I strive to create products that are more accessible. I look at products out there and try to match or improve their price point. You may be able to buy cheaper from The Warehouse but if you compare them to high quality imported products, mine are within reach.

Your dream commission?

Any commission is good!

Knight Pendent

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