The winner of this year's New Design Britain Award (Furniture category), Kai is a new take on the wire chair, made from powder-coated wire and featuring arrow-shaped supports across the seat and back. The design came about after a brief was set by Sam Wright, owner of And Then Design, who also lectures part-time at Nottingham Trent University. Kai has gone to market through And Then Design.
Daniel Lau graduated from Nottingham Trent University this year with a First Class (Hons) degree in Furniture & Product Design. He says: “My main objective when I design is to create something that is both beautiful and functional for the user.”
His aim with Kai was to make it appear sculptural so that “it would stop people in their tracks” – but also affordable and comfortable.
"Kai is made in Britain using expert Midlands-based craftsmen," says Daniel. "The frame and all its bends/curves are produced using a CNC wire-bending machine and then expertly welded together by hand.
“The inspiration behind Kai was initially to begin with very abstract and sculptural forms, but, as the development process evolved, to strike a balance between creating a form that still possessed sculptural flair within a commercially viable form. The main frame of Kai is made from 12.7mm steel wire rod, with the arrowhead slats measuring at 8mm – this was to increase comfort and durability. The chair also has an excellent weight that exudes quality.
“Kai can be finished in a multitude of colours through powder coating, and can be clear lacquered or even chromed depending on the client’s specification.”
And Then Design’s Sam Wright sees “real potential” in Kai, describing it as “original, compared to what’s on the market”. As well as his success with Kai, Daniel won the Young Mobile Phone Designer of the Year award with his Sero design, and his work has been featured in Archiproducts, Clerkenwell 2014, Made, New Designers 2014, On Office, Trend Hunter and Yanko Design.
This article was featured in last September's issue of Furniture News magazine.