Designer Q&A: Paul Hailes, Summit Chairs Design Engineer

summit chairs paul

Design Insider sat down with Summit chairs very own Paul Hailes to discuss design and inspiration behind their latest modular sofa collection Lilo.

Can you tell us how you got into design?

As part of my Engineering degree course, I did some CAD modules. The ability to create a 3D object from nothing got me interested in the design process, so I looked for job opportunities where I could use 3D design. I wanted to do something part-time alongside my course which would apply what I was learning in a commercial environment. I started with a company in Oxford for designing 3d jigs and tooling. Then the position came up at Summit and I jumped at it. It’s the process of starting with a blank canvass and creating something that’s so engaging.

What inspires your design approach?

I approach everything from an engineering perspective so it’s all about how furniture can work for people to enhance their environment and how they work.

Summit Chairs Modular

What was the main inspiration behind the modular sofa Lilo?

We wanted to develop something that brought home-comfort to the work space. It needed to be modular so the elements complemented the space and the strong, angular aesthetic evolved from our desire to be able to use it as in that flexible way.

 Summit Chairs Modular 1

What was considered in the design?

Versatility was key. We’ve engineered each piece to fit beautifully with all of the other range elements to ensure it perfectly suits the end user’s space and needs. We wanted it to be deeply comfortable: no one achieves their best work if they aren’t relaxed! The brief also included the need for a sophisticated finish so the origination was quite architectural; I wanted something bold.

And the result? What has been the reaction?

The team at Summit love it. They love the confidence of the range. What has been really exciting is the way that has translated to our clients who have been brave with very dynamic fabric choices when ordering their Lilos. We’ve done some fantastically creative early orders in vibrant vinyls and beautifully contemporary colourways of other fabrics.

What’s next?

Lilo has been so well received that clients are already asking for range extensions to include a booth option for the Lilo and a media unit to complement the office landscape so that’s what I’m developing at the minute. Booth configurations will offer a relaxed space for informal meetings and lounge areas/breakout space. Both the booths and the media units will have the option for a screen-mounted television and power integration as people continue to embrace a more agile way of working.


Contact Summit Chairs 



About Alys Bryan

Alys' experience as a furniture designer, along with her in-depth marketing knowledge, makes her uniquely placed to work with the BCFA as the Editor of Design Insider and run her marketing business, Method Communications.
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