Clerkenwell Open offers an incredible panel of experts from the Architect and Design Industry who have been supporting and advising throughout the development of the free showroom trail event, taking place on 9th & 10th September 2021. We’re back this week with another Q&A with Edge Design’s Sales & Marketing Director, Stephan Russell about the future of soft seating and the importance of catering for rapidly changing customer requirements.
Please could you introduce yourself?
I’m Stephen Russell, Sales & Marketing Director at Edge Design, part of Pledge Office Chairs.
I’ve been working with Pledge for over 15 years and started in the industry nearly 35 years ago, so I’ve seen many changes and developments, sadly long enough to see some things come full circle! Who ever thought we would be back to tables with four legs!
Please could you tell me about your area of expertise? Please feel free to include any specific current projects or areas of interest.
Our area of expertise is soft seating, as a “true” manufacturer, not merely a component assembler, we produce many of our own components “in house”, including metal and wooden frame fabrication, with this in mind products are designed and developed to include as much “in house” production as possible.
This allows us ongoing development of products and their range statement to cater for our customers growing application needs and demands.
What does the future look like in your area of expertise?
The future looks good!
Products must be flexible and adaptable going forwards, the days of merely presenting a product to the marketplace, and simply expecting customers to purchase them have gone.
Trends are now driven by the needs of the user, not the manufacturer. It is important for the manufacturing and design communities to realise this and act accordingly, only then will we see the success we crave.
What does the future of the contract and interior design sector look like?
It isn’t a desk and a chair anymore?
Yes, customers are still looking at price, but more than that, will a product be used, effective, and offer multipurpose both in its application and those folk able to use it?
All the office space and it’s furniture, needs to offer social distance, whilst retaining collaboration, and functionality whilst maintaining good design.
What is the importance of events like Clerkenwell Open to the contract and interior sectors?
Absolutely vital – the days of the big hall shows are long gone, but events like this are now much more relevant to the manufacturing and design industry, they are certainly more focused with less peripheral industries getting involved.
The whole idea of meeting from showroom to showroom, each with its own individual style and setting is much more appealing than trudging around a hall with the usual “pop ups”, and bad catering!
What are you most looking forward to at Clerkenwell Open?
We really need this, and have waited a long time for this, for the industry and our sanity.
Online platforms have been useful, but nothing beats or is as affective as actually getting customers to sit in and experience the product (with a beer!)
I’m certain this event will go forwards into the future and will spark many ideas and much business in the coming months.