Polly Dickens is set to retire from her current position as creative director of the interiors brand Habitat at the end of January 2018. Dickens will be succeeded by Habitat’s current senior design manager, Kate Butler, who will take on the role of head of product design, overseeing product development of the Habitat Design Studio and its seasonal collections. Butler has been with the Habitat brand since 2013 as part of its in-house design studio, before that working for both Anthropologie and The Conran Shop.
“The Habitat Design Studio is an iconic institution, creating some of the UK’s most important interior designs and designers throughout its 50-year history,” says Kate. “I’m thrilled to be continuing to evolve the studio’s creative output and championing the legacy that comes with it. Habitat was founded on the principles of bringing inspiring, forward thinking products to everyone and today we continue to do exactly that. We’ve seen our collection grow to over 4500 products in the last five years, mixing traditional handcrafts from around the globe alongside cool British design and technology to create products that are unexpected, confident and designed with a sense of fun. It’s a genuinely exciting prospect of where we take the Design Studio next, working with our designers and emerging talent to ensure that stylistically we continue to stay ahead of an increasingly competitive market and build on our design authority within the industry.”
Polly says: “I count myself extremely lucky to have been given the once in a lifetime opportunity to take on such an extraordinary brand with the remit of re-building it to the Habitat that everyone imagines and loves. This has been a wonderful 6 years and I’m so proud of our achievements. The design team has gone from strength to strength and between us we have created a bold and recognisable handwriting, with a collection full of beautifully made products that have real personality. Working with craftsmen all over the world has always been a passion of mine and we have been able to include elements of this kind of work right across the range. It is brilliant that a high-street brand can offer things like this that are truly unique and really do showcase hand-craft and artistry. Now though, after over 30 years in the industry, I’ve decided that it’s my time to have another kind of life and I’m looking forward to travelling with my husband and watching the Design Studio flourish under Kate’s leadership.”
Clare Askem, Habitat’s MD, says: “Polly has been fundamental in re-imagining the output of our design studio for today’s Habitat customer. Never one to shy away from statement design and brave pattern, she has re-injected the creative spirit back into Habitat and has been responsible now for 10 seasonal collections that have gone from strength to strength. Polly leaves behind her a Habitat that has evolved radically from 2012 – a much stronger, identifiable brand that is seeing great success and growth. Her continued passion and enthusiasm for the interiors industry has been hugely inspiring for our whole team and I have no doubt that our Design Studio - led by Kate - will continue to champion that spirit, pushing design boundaries and leading the way in shaping modern interiors.”
Kate Butler takes on the role of Head of Product Design in January 2018.