ONE: Lee Ness

Continuing with our popular series, we’re kicking 2020 off with Lee Ness, the General Manager of Global Upholstery Solutions who has joined us for the first ONE Article of the year. Lee Ness is the General Manager of Global Upholstery Solutions Limited (GUS) and Head of Design at blackswan.

After a long career in manufacturing, engineering and design project management, Lee has brought all these things together in his dual role with the teams at blackswan and GUS to help furniture designers achieve their vision in the most effective way possible. 

ONE Inspiration: Alan Stannah MBE and Brian Stannah MBE

I’ve worked for Alan and Brian Stannah’s family business for over 25 years and they are a truly inspirational pair. They revitalised the business in the 1960s, transformed Stannah into a household name as the masterminds behind Stannah’s most famed product, the stairlift, and selling over 600,000 worldwide.

ONE Place: Alexandra Palace

We made all the theatre seating for Alexandra Palace and had an opportunity to visit while it was completely empty of people. I loved the courage not to restore it, but to keep it ‘preserved in a beautiful state of arrested decay and frozen in time’. Stunning.

ONE Artist: Banksy

I’m a renegade at heart and so I love Banksy’s art because it is disruptive and is though provoking – it makes you really look inside yourself. We even have two large Banksy vinyls in our factory as well as a graffiti wall created by a local artist.

GUS is our manufacturing business (70 people, large factory) and Lee created blackswan because designers and architects kept giving GUSL things to make that were ‘nice’ but didn’t make the best use of manufacturing processes. blackswan provides the link between the two disparate worlds. Lee is a Chartered Engineer and has managed very large design projects, run the factories for Stannah, obviously was a design engineer way back and now use all those things to make GUS efficient, not just for value, but because efficiency in manufacturing is one of the most environmentally friendly things we could do – hence my hate of waste in all it’s forms – in design, in process, in time.

We certainly think we know Lee a little better now. Tell us your ONE item, drink or film… we would love to know!

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About Jess Mockler

Jess is the Marketing and Membership Executive at BCFA and Design Insider. She has a passion for design, marketing and events with a history of working closely with designers in the interior sector after finishing University in Event Management.
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