What is authenticity in furniture design? Alex Willcock and Felix Conran — the father and son team behind Maker&Son — describe how they are reinventing upholstered sofas, chairs and beds.
When Alex Willcock and his son Felix Conran established Maker & Son three years ago, they set out to create furniture with authenticity, employing ethically and locally sourced materials to offer high levels of comfort, quality craftsmanship and traceability.
What does authenticity mean to you?
Doing what we love to do, in the way we love to do it, with the people we love. In this way, every decision is relatively straightforward — you just ask yourself if it feels right, ‘does it feel like us?’ If it does, we do it, if it doesn’t, we don’t. In this way, we don’t even think about being authentic, we just do what feels like us.
What is the benefit of traditional craftsmanship?
Tried and tested methods of making things that have proven their ability to last lifetimes.
How do these characteristics achieve your concept of comfort?
For us, true comfort is a physical and mental state of being. For the physical side of things, you need to design things with care and consideration making sure each piece is ergonomically perfect and then made from materials that will guarantee comfort. Once you have made something that ensures you are physically comfortable, you then need to consider how the customer will feel mentally.
Our customers know that their furniture will last a very long while, is made locally and sustainably from natural materials — the combination of all these things makes owning our products a truly comfortable experience.
Why is traceability important?
Knowing where the things that you buy are made, what they are made from, how they are made and who makes them is hugely important. Parts of the food and drinks industry have led the way in this field, it’s time for the furniture and homeware industry to catch up!
With customers all over the world, how do you keep it local?
We work with manufacturers that are local to where we sell our sofas. We have workshops in New Zealand, Australia, UK and the US. Where possible. the materials we use are local too. For instance, the organic wool inside our Australian sofas is grown just 30 miles from our workshop.
When Alex Willcock and his son Felix Conran established Maker & Son, they aimed to create truly comfortable furniture, handmade