Dezeen Magazine

Richard Hutten

Furniture companies need to improve their branding says Richard Hutten

Milan 2015: furniture companies need to get better at branding, according to Dutch designer Richard Hutten, who said the sector "has a lot to learn from other fields".

Speaking to Dezeen at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this week, Hutten said it was often impossible to tell which company made a piece of furniture.

"When you see cars, you see first the logo and then you see the car," he said. "But in furniture you hardly ever see the brand."

Hutten was at the fair to launch his X-Chair for Italian brand Moroso, which features a wooden X-shaped connector between the seat and back. The heads of the countersunk bolts that hold the chair together are embossed with Moroso's logo.

"I pushed Moroso to put the logo on the chair," he said. "I designed a small detail on the back with their logo on it so when you see this chair you can see this logo of the brand. It's not really in your face, but it's there so it's easy to recognise the brand."

X Chair by Richard Hutten for Moroso
X-Chair for Moroso

Hutten, 48, said that design companies need to become better at branding. "More companies should be aware that their brand is important to people," he said. People don't buy the furniture because they like the furniture but they buy it because it's a certain brand. "

The furniture industry could learn from the car or electronics sectors, he said. "Branding is becoming much more important," he said "It's a fact and you have to deal with it and I think there's a lot to learn from other fields."

"If you look at electronics or cars, branding is super, super important and they do it very well. In the furniture industry there are still a lot of opportunities in this field."

The Rotterdam-based designer pointed to Dutch furniture and lighting brand Moooi as an example of a design company with strong branding.

"Marcel Wanders [Moooi's creative director] does his art direction very strictly and everything they do is done very well," Hutten said. "There are brands who do it well, and create a clear identity. Moroso is catching up"

Hutten said that strong art direction is vital to the brand of a company.

"I think it starts with art direction," he said. "Moroso has good art direction. What Moroso does very well is that they are very good in fabrics, so 80 per cent of their collection incorporates fabrics in a way that is done very well. All their designs have playful attitudes, colourful attitudes. I think it's very important for a company to have, an overall look that is matching."

The X-Chair, Hutten's first project for Moroso, is a compact easy chair designed so that the back is as visually interesting as the front.

"Normally when you see a chair for the first time it's always from the back side because it's grouped around a table," Hutten said. "So the starting point for this chair was the back side, where I made a very iconic X shape to connect the seat and the back."

Portrait of Richard Hutten is by Liselore Chevalier.