Charles Wilson

Charles Wilson is a furniture and product designer based in Sydney. A graduate of industrial design from the University of Technology, in 1995 his career was established with the maker brand, Woodmark when they developed his CW1 Swivel Chair. Since then, he has gone on to devise pieces for MENU, Herman Miller, King Living, and the state government of New South Wales. His limited-edition Tallboy for Broached Commissions has entered private collections and was exhibited throughout the world. Charles is the winner of a number of awards including the Good Design Award and the Bombay Sapphire Design Award.

Getting to know Charles Wilson

“Combined with the Olida range and a selection of my designs from over the years, my intention was to create a streamlined pod with references to Edwardian design”.

Getting to know Charles Wilson

Q: What are your favorite product/s used in your Caroma capsule and why did you choose them?

For this capsule I have used the Contura products from Caroma which have beautiful simple lines. Combined with the Olida range and a selection of my designs from over the years, my intention was to create a streamlined pod with references to Edwardian design. The serif stool, onyx vases and canisters are all influenced by industrial forms; The spartan black steel and marble shelf and bevelled rim mirror/storage unit link these to the black and white Caroma products. Other accessories are from Koskela who have a wonderful selection of natural, locally made products. 

Q: Describe your approach to design?

My approach is contemplative. Ideas might sometimes come in an instant but often after a long period of thought about what is really needed for a product. I’m always determined to create products that are both highly personal and long lasting, something I would wish to own.

Q: What inspires you in your design and how do you come up with your ideas?

A source of inspiration can come from anywhere. My initial sketches are often fast and deliberately cluttered in an attempt to not just explore line and form, but find accidental shapes and ideas. 

Q: What is the biggest single influence on your creative thinking?

I was lucky to study design at Sydney College of the Arts back when the head teacher was an un-reformed modernist from the Chicago School. The era of vibrant post modernism hadn’t swayed Professor Montague from instructing that design should always be “true to its materials” and that “Form must follow function”. It was the late 80s and we were keen to rebel against all that experimenting with new modes of expression, though ultimately that foundation of structural modernism has informed my work more than anything.

Q: What is your strongest skill?

I somehow learnt over the years to meet deadlines. Might sound like a small thing, but it still surprises me. 

Q: What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?

I’m fascinated by new technologies especially digital manufacturing techniques that allow for incredible precision and complexity. These have had a big influence on my work in recent years. 

Q: What are you passionate about besides your work?

I love returning to the farm near Forbes where I grew up. It’s a great respite from city life, and I still enjoy reworking the garden there which I started planting out as a teenager.