De La Espada is a groundbreaking design management firm and manufacturer with nearly two decades of experience in the design, craft and retail of solid wood modern furniture. Alongside their signature line, De La Espada supports select designer-led brands through distribution, marketing, product development, and manufacturing. Each designer has creative control over every aspect of their brand from product design to art direction, creating product lines that are authentic and exactly as the designer intended.
The Windsor chairs collection is designed by Matthew Hilton and distributed exclusively by De La Espada. The four chairs are named after neighbouring villages of High Wycome in Buckinghamshire, where the Windsor chair originated. Giving the chair a modern update, Matthew Hilton has employed exclusively traditional Windsor chair making techniques in order to further the story, the evolution of the English Windsor chair.
Above: Windsor Chairs by Matthew Hilton – in Milan 2011
De La Espada, in its role as design manager for Matthew Hilton Ltd, and Matthew Hilton himself, wanted to involve a manufacturer with history and experience in building the Windsor chair. Ercol, the UK’s largest manufacturer of solid wood furniture with nearly 100 years of history, was the perfect solution. Ercol is the last of the High Wycombe furniture makers whose beginnings were in chairs of this type.
Above: Kimble Windsor Chair by Matthew Hilton
Matthew Hilton says:
“The Windsor Chairs come from an interest I have had for a long time in both traditional and country furniture. There is a long line of development of this type of chair in many different countries but particularly in England, centred in the forests around Windsor in Buckinghamshire. The traditional method was to use freshly cut green timber, and to make the components in the forest, manually turning the sticks, steam bending the bows, carving the seats. No glue was used in assembly, rather the structure relied on pegs and friction of joints – a very developed technique. There have been contemporary explorations of these techniques but I felt there was something I could add to that. I wanted to explore the manufacture and style of these chairs, simplifying form, whilst keeping very closely to traditional Windsor chair making techniques.”
Above: Matthew Hilton portrait 2011
Matthew Hilton is a Royal Designer for Industry with over 30 years’ experience designing modern classics. In 2007, he established his eponymous brand as a place he could have complete creative control. Working mainly in solid wood, Hilton pushes the boundaries of the material, creating sculptural designs with an elegant simplicity that belies the complex engineering. His work is held in the permanent collections of The Geffrye Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum and he was named Designer of the Year at The British Design Awards in 2008. ‘Hilton has a genius for contemporary wooden design [approaching] his designs as much as a sculptor as a furniture designer’, Financial Times How To Spend It.