VERCO - the designers
Simon Pengelly bursts into Song
A major draw to VERCO Office Furniture's stand at Design Prima in
London this year (2008) was an exciting new design called Song.
A compact, medium back tub chair on wire or swivel base frames, it
together - with big brother Dance (released this January) - are simple in
form yet forge a strong visual statement. Both offer supreme comfort for
all users of 'break-out' and visitor areas and provide a touch of luxury
and effortless beauty in the office or public environment.
The designs also see the emergence of a promisingly fruitful relationship
with one of Britain's finest furniture designers, Simon Pengelly.
An award winning cabinetmaker before even graduating from Kingston
University in 1988, Simon worked for both Conran and Habitat before
founding Pengelly Design in 1993 and carries out commissions for some of
workplace furniture's best known manufacturing brands.
His much-publicised affinity with materials and manufacturing processes -
combined with a passionate desire to create, as he puts it, production
furniture with 'soul'- has resulted in award-winning designs that marry
wonderfully understated design to fiendishly clever engineering, creating
results that share timeless appeal and ready user accessibility.
We asked Simon to sum up his first experience working with VERCO…
How did the relationship come about?
"Pretty straight-forwardly. VERCO came to me in 2006 and explained they
wanted a seating design for visitor and breakout areas."
"Pleasure. I'm always encouraged when British companies approach us to do
contemporary furniture. There aren't that many doing it proactively and
they showed every intention of looking holistically at their range and of
looking forward and designing a range rather than a couple of pieces.
"Some companies pay lip service to outsourcing design and this manifests
itself in the absence of marketing put behind the end product. VERCO gets
behind design with quality literature, PR and showcases such as Prima."
What was the brief?
"VERCO wanted to establish a long-term relationship with us and suggested
we start with a seating range. They weren't overly prescriptive."
And his solutions?
"The concepts we went through showed us to be on the right track in that
we didn't seek to reinvent the wheel but create work that has
familiarity, accessibility and instantly understandable to VERCO and its
customers. In short, something that fitted well with existing ranges yet
"We did seek to imbue the chairs with a personality which hadn't been
"In the detail. The relationship between the seat and arm for instance,
where the former flows up into latter. It's aesthetic and it's
functional, allowing us to hide the fixing between the two components and
enabling us to attach the base at the same time.
"VERCO also wanted something that was relatively easy to upholster and
doing the chair in two upholstered components rather than one went toward
resolving this element of the brief."
What kind of design personality do Song and Dance have?
"A bit cheeky - but there's nothing wrong in that. Our work relies
generally on combining proportion and comfort intelligently using
manufacturing processes to drive the aesthetic."
Do visitor and breakout areas afford designers the opportunity to have
a bit of fun?
"Definitely, particularly given how relatively seriously desk-based
seating design has to be. Reception and break-out areas are the fastest
growing at present in the work environment. They are half way between
domestic and workplace-biased; we call them 'soft contract'. You don't
want something too quirky but you can design a chair with a domestic
overtone or use a base or fabric that makes it more contract-friendly."
What's the most important point you want to get across to new clients?
"The need to get under the skin of the company. We are not here to stamp
our signature on our client's ranges. It's all about furthering their
FOR IMAGES RELATING TO THIS CONTRACT, PLEASE CONTACT AGENCY
Issued October 2008 on behalf of VERCO Office Furniture Ltd by
petermuir public relations
Whiteleaf Business Centre, Buckingham Industrial Park, Buckingham MK18
tel 00 44 (0) 1296 715228 fax 00 44 (0)1296 715486
Founded in 1912, VERCO is one Britain's best known and respected office
furniture manufacturers. Take this link for the full story …