Born in 1957, Matthew Hilton studied at Portsmouth College of Art and then at Kingston Polytechnic. After graduating he worked for Capa as an industrial designer and model maker. He then set up his own design studio/workshop in 1984. SCP was the first manufacturer to produce Hilton’s work, launching Hilton’s Bow shelves at Milan Furniture Fair in 1986.

Nineteen years on, SCP and Matthew Hilton continue to collaborate, producing seminal furniture such as the Balzac armchair, Orford sofa and Flipper coffee table to name but a few. While continuing his relationship with SCP, Hilton has gone on to work with many well respected international manufacturers including CASE, Driade, Disform, Sawaya and Moroni, XO, Montis, Perobell, Authentics, Montina, Livit and Ycami. 2007 saw the launch of Matthew Hilton’s own brand of furniture and he is now launching new designs with both CASE and SCP.

Matthew Hilton doesn't believe in design movements, and he really doesn't like the concept of design as a fashion. Rather, he thinks the design process is part of the evolution of any object through history. Designing with the end user in mind, and whether that means a household of ten or one, he takes pleasure in finding the fluid, easily adaptable solution to fit today's domestic spaces.

Who is Matthew Hilton?

From an early age, Hilton was interested in painting, sculpture and architecture, and yet, the notion of being a “designer” didn’t occur to him until it was suggested by a tutor at Portsmouth College of Art. The idea suited Hilton, who enrolled in the renowned Furniture and Design course at England’s Kingston Polytechnic. After graduation he worked as an industrial designer and model maker until 1984 when he set up his own design studio/workshop. Two years later he launched a series of shelves at the Milan Furniture Fair, and in 1991 he designed the Balzac Armchair, which was first received with circumspect curiosity but then quickly embraced as a modern classic.

Since the Balzac, however, Hilton’s work has taken on a less stylistic, more functional approach. He believes in creating furniture that people live with, and his inspiration often comes from long-established furniture forms. He now works to update and reinvent these forms, while keeping an eye on the future. In 2006, Hilton’s Cross Extension Table won the annual Elle Decoration Design Award for Best in Furniture. The table showcases Hilton’s advanced wood manufacturing techniques, as well as his sense of proportion, scale and functionality.

Matthew Hilton has learned from every piece he’s designed, whether it was because it allowed him to work in a new material, with a new manufacturer or for stylistic reasons. “All of my pieces are loaded with meaning and memory and are very personal to me,” says the British designer. Hilton, however, is quick to add that he doesn’t believe in design movements, and instead prefers to think of the design process as part of the evolution of any object through history.

balzac-armchair-by-matthew-hilton

Balzac armchair, 1991

In 1991, SCP produced their first piece of upholstery, The Balzac armchair by Matthew Hilton. Like all of SCP’s upholstery, Balzac is made in our UK factory. It has a solid beech frame and is upholstered in multi-density foam with feather cushions and American oak legs.The chair has gone on to become the bestselling SCP chair of all time, something of an icon. It was included in the well-known Taschen book “1000 Chairs” and has a permanent residency at the Geffrye Museum, the Museum of the English Domestic Interior. Made in the UK.

stanley-sofa-range-matthew-hilton-case-furniture-homepage

Stanley sofa and armchair

The Stanley sofa and armchair are the perfect combination of sharp lines and soft upholstery. Both the sofa and armchair have a solid oak frame, which gently tapers towards the back, while the low arms and soft leather upholstered cushions make the pieces both aesthetically pleasing and also comfortable.

Timeline

1957
Matthew Hilton born on 31 January
19 ??
Portsmouth College of Art
1976
Studied Furniture and Design at Kingston University
1979
Graduated Kingston University
1984
Started Matthew Hilton Design Studio
1986
Launched a series of shelves at the Milan Furniture Fair
1991
Designed Balzac Armchair for SCP
2000
Exhibition opens at Geffrye Museum entitled 'Matthew Hilton: Furniture For Our Time'
2000
Became Head of Furniture Design at Habitat
2004
Matthew Awarded a Royal Designer for Industry award (RDI) at Royal Society of Art
2004
Stepped down as Head of Furniture Design at Habitat
2005
Became Creative Director of Case Furniture
2006
Cross Extension Table won the annual Elle Decoration Design Award for Best in Furniture
2007
Matthew launched his company Matthew Hilton Limited
2012
Awarded honorary doctorate from London's Kingston University

Awards

2004
Matthew Awarded a Royal Designer for Industry award (RDI) at Royal Society of Art
2006
Cross Extension Table won the annual Elle Decoration Design Award for Best in Furniture
2006
Cross Extension Table won the annual Elle Decoration Design Award for Best in Furniture
2012
Awarded honorary doctorate from London's Kingston University
2012
Lucas sofa for SCP shortlisted for the ELLE Decoration British Design Awards

Matthew Hilton talks about his products for Case Furniture with Design Within Reach (5 min 27 secs)

Fact Sheet

Full name
Matthew Hilton
Born
31 January 1957, Hastings, England
Nationality
British
Education
Portsmouth College of Art
Alma mater
Kingston Polytechnic
Occupation
Furniture designer
Employer
Habitat, Ercol, Case, XO, SCP, De La Espada
Known for
Balzac chair

Products by Matthew Hilton

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