Published: Thursday, November 01, 2007
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[L-R] Matthew Kavanagh and Ashley Hall.
Diplomat is the design partnership of Ashley Hall and Matthew Kavanagh.
With a passion for furniture and a background in furniture, product, lighting and retail design, they first came to prominence with the ‘Micro Furniture' range exhibited at 100% Design in 1999. This was quickly followed by showing at the Salone Satellite in the Milan furniture fair where they gained attention and projects from a range of Italian furniture and product manufacturers including Saporiti, Origlia, ArrMet, Bart Design, RSVP and Covo.
They have built on this success with recent furniture launches with Edra, Artifort. Sintesi and Zeritalia alongside consultancy projects in the USA, Australia and the UK. The Arc table for Zeritalia has been selected for the ADI Design Index and shortlisted for the Compasso d'Oro
Their studio is based in the East End of London where they research and develop their own ideas to place with like-minded manufacturers.
Born in Cardiff, Wales in 1967. Studied furniture design at Nottingham Trent University and the Royal College of Art, receiving his MA in 1992. He worked as a designer in the fields of furniture, product, lighting & interiors for a variety of design consultancies and manufacturers in London. In 1994 he established his own design consultancy in order to design mass produced furniture and develop his own collection of limited edition furniture pieces. His projects continued to develop his approach of using synthetic materials combined with liquid forms.
He has lectured at a number of UK universities in industrial design, innovation strategy and innovative materials and is currently senior tutor in Industrial design Engineering at the RCA. His research at the RCA involves design process and materials innovation.
Matthew Kavanagh was born in England in 1966. He studied product design at The South Bank University graduating in 1988. Inspired by the Memphis design movement of the late 70's / early 80's Matthew moved to Italy to live and worked for Olivetti, then art directed by Memphis designer George Sowden. After a year, during which time Olivetti patented his designs for their new hybrid electronic products, Matthew returned to the UK to start his furniture, lighting and product design consultancy. Here he pursued his materials led approach to organic essentialism and formally set up Diplomat in 2000. Meanwhile in 1994 he began working for the first of several companies in the retail sector specializing in store design, retail display, brand strategy, communications & consumer psychology. He currently holds a director role at Astound.
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