Tokyo Designers Week interviews: Matthew Hilton

Tokyo 09: in this second in a series of short interviews commissioned for the official Tokyo Designers Week guide that Dezeen produced, furniture designer Matthew Hilton talks to Malaika Byng about working with wood and his first experience of Tokyo.

Matthew Hilton - I do what I can but I still jump on a plane every few weeks

“Green is a marketing word. A lot of designers are jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t think we’re seeing any real green innovations in furniture design. I do what I can - I use sustainably sourced wood and avoid acid catalyst lacquers - but then I jump on a plane every few weeks.

To me, being green is also about making things that last. I want my pieces to have a strong presence but you also need to be able to live with them. Big statements date.

Wood is a very warm, hard-wearing material. Working with De La Espada on my new collection has given me access to a thrilling mix of craftsmanship and expert wood manufacturing. I use very advanced cross-laminated timber for tabletops, which makes the furniture very strong but lightweight.

I love the freedom I have with De La Espada and the ability to create really personal and expressive pieces at the high-end of the market. But it’s fun to have the contrast of working with Case, a larger volume, mid-market brand. We sell in America and Japan is next in our sights.

The first time I went to Tokyo was in the late 1980s with Jasper Morrison. We shared a bottle of vodka on the plane and arrived in a haze of jetlag and alcohol. It heightened the already extraordinary experience of wandering the city for the first time.”

Matthew Hilton is a furniture designer and creative director of Case.

Photography by Phil Fisk
Art direction by Micha Weidmann
Interview by Malaika Byng

This interview is taken from the official Tokyo Designers Week guide, produced by Dezeen and art directed by Micha Weidmann.

More about Matthew Hilton on Dezeen:

Molteni&C sofa chat
Collection at 100% Design 2008
Collection at 100% Design 2007
Furniture for Ercol at Tent London
Furniture for Case

See also:

Tokyo Designers Week interview: Shigeru Ban

See all our stories about Tokyo Designers Week in our special category.