Interview with designer Graham Hepburn (GH), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Boletus Coffee Table.

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Interview with Graham Hepburn at Sunday 7th of April 2013: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
GH : The principle behind this design was to create a beautiful piece of artwork with a function. This piece is the first prototype in a range of furniture with further prototypes in the pipeline.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
GH : The main focus of this design was to not allow any compromise to the aesthetic. This was achieved using modern materials and what we think is a clever design.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
GH : We have a future plan for this piece but it needs to remain under wraps at the moment. Nothing is finalised yet so please keep fingers crossed!

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
GH : This design had been in my head for a while before I put pen to paper. From drafting the sketch concepts through to manufacture drawings took just under two months.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
GH : This concept was chosen to be designed and prototyped because it was a manageable size which equates to manageable prototype costs. As this is an in-house inspiration and development, we wanted to watch the costs and assess the interest and marketability of the product and thus furniture range.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
GH : As mentioned above, we have not finalised the future plan for the piece and have not yet leased the production rights or licensed any manufacturers. We have the ability to manufacture the product in-house whilst the demand is manageable and to make custom colours and finishes to order.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
GH : I have always enjoyed design in all sorts of fields. Automotive, aerospace, maritime, architectural, interiors and of course furniture design all grab my interest. I have worked for over a decade in the implementation design side of architecture and interior design. Furniture is an accessible design discipline for any aspiring designer as pieces can be prototyped affordably and in a small workshop or even shed.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
GH : No design is ever without some external influence. We all retain so much more of what we've seen and experienced than we consciously realise and our concepts and designs will reflect these influences. That said, as far as I can think, no specific design or designer influenced my design for this piece.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
GH : The target customer for this piece would be someone with relatively modern tastes and an eye for beautiful aesthetics.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
GH : If one compares this piece with other coffee table designs, the notable difference is the aesthetic. Where other designs may start off with function as the main design criteria, the Boletus coffee table starts off with form and beauty.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
GH : "Boletus" is the scientific name for the king of mushrooms. Much of the inspiration for the Boletus coffee table was drawn from nature. The flowing, sinuous lines, the "trunk" or "stalk" of the table acting as a single leg rather than three or four legs in a conventional table.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
GH : I would like to say "my brain", but I guess you are referring to other types of tools. In this case it was good old fashioned pen and paper. CAD was useful further along the line for modelling and visualising the product prior to manufacture.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
GH : I would say it has to be the striking appearance of the Boletus coffee table.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
GH : There was no collaboration on this design.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
GH : The Boletus coffee table design relies on modern material technology to achieve the strength and stability.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
GH : Research was undertaken with regards modern, affordable material selection, manufacturing techniques, sustainability, strength and stability.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
GH : Funding in-house prototype development is always a challenge for a small design studio, however careful planning and belief in a design always help keep things on track.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
GH : I heard about the A'Design awards and was interested from the start. I had not really given too much thought to competitions prior to finding out about the A'Design Award.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
GH : I learned that I am more patient than I had previously thought. It is incredibly important, as a designer, to allow oneself time to contemplate and assess one's designs. Rushing through a design into prototyping will usually end up costing more money and taking longer than starting off slower and taking time to make final decisions.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
GH : Please visit my website at and follow me on twitter @GrahamHDS.