You’ll find us a bit excited this Monday morning! Today we’re featuring Alex Swain; the designer behind ByAlex; a design company dedicated to developing considered, playful and enjoyable products.
London-based Alex’s designs are driven by a conviction that ‘designers should use resources wisely’ and this ethos was born out of being ‘frustrated with throwaway culture and committed to making quality products engineered to last. Considered design that is considerate to the planet’. This translates into products made in the UK and Latvia using FSC/PEFC certified timber from responsibly managed forests, using cutting-edge technology to reduce wastage and clever minimal packing for shipping.
Below you’ll see what a neat and slimline little package arrived at our door. It uses no tape, no bubblewrap and even comes with a handle. You twist the handle to open the package meaning it’s a very re-usable little box!
This does of course mean that the product arrives flat-packed but before you start to panic it’s actually a really lovely five minute job and the pack comes with the necessary tool so no scrabbling around the toolbox required!
The step-by-step instructions make total sense and its pleasing to put together such a high quality, beautiful yet functional product.
By putting the sections together yourself you can really appreciate the tight lines of plywood and see how sturdy the structure is when slotted together. The A-stool distinctive graphic style reveals that of it’s designer. Alex is strongly inspired by typography and graphics (he distinctly remembers being inspired by vinyl record sleeves and cassette tapes as a teenager in the 1980s) and this translates into his designs.
When the stool launched back in 2011 (it’s having its 5th anniversary this month) it was an instant success and drove the development of a complete range of ‘A’ products. This ‘A’ shape is one of the purest forms in architecture and engineering and you can understand why with the beautiful simplicity but solidarity of this punchy stool.
The frame is made from FSC Birch plywood bonded with a coloured laminate and it’s the multi-functional and portable nature of it which makes it so appealing – a stool, side table, laptop stand… it’s a piece of furniture which can move around your home according to what you need making it very welcome in space-hungry homes.
As with any high-quality product it’s also very tactile, you find your hands running over the smooth contours and appreciating its strong graphic aesthetic.
If you’re interested in finding out more about ByAlex then their blog is a great place to start where you’ll discover behind-the-scenes production trips, collaboration news, sustainability debates and ‘Meet The’ designer interviews. There are also some really lovely videos such as his trip to Maison & Objet in 2015 celebrating the best in British Design. Theres an openness and appreciation to his style which is warming and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the London contemporary design scene.
The ByAlex focus on eco isn’t just in the ‘A’ range but a considered approach to design. They have recently developed a bamboo chair for John Lewis’ 150th anniversary. Bamboo only takes six years to grow before harvesting for furniture so its a sustainable hardwood which makes sense to experiment with. The detail on the type of materials used is impressive and the moulded plywood seat is upholstered in one of the world’s most sustainable products; Linoleum which is made from 93% natural materials. It’s quite rightly described as ‘a chair for everyday and good for your neighbourhood!’.
Right at this moment Alex is crowdfunding for his latest product inspired by the birth of his daughter and wider family experiences; an elephant high-chair. As you’d expect, it’s clever, fun and playful with functionality and spirit at its core. Purity By Design! Watch the video here.
We’ve admired this company for a while. The stool was complimentary but all words, thoughts and pictures are our own.