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The Mind of a Chair Maker

Welsh furniture designer Martin Cook’s creativity and experiences shape the chairs he designs.

To simply call Martin’s life and creative process unconventional would be brushing over too many vivid details. His spirit of adventure has taken him worldwide, and his creative mind has taken inspiration from everything for his chair designs. While he designs other furniture out of necessity, Martin’s true passion lies in chairs. From his background as the child of an architect to his role as a professional designer for both Trusthouse Forte’s hotels and Euro Disney’s grand opening, Martin has honed his vision for what a good chair looks like.

Surprisingly, the seat of his Porsche Cayenne inspired the design of one of his most popular chairs: the chair hugs the customer as they lean or turn in their seat, creating an experience that is both comfortable yet visually fashionable. He also draws inspiration from Gucci handbags and Fendi shoes, keeping in mind the importance of shape in accentuating color.

Martin’s story with China is not one of love at first sight. When he first came to China in 1994, he couldn’t adapt to everyday life and was disappointed by the chairs he came here to manufacture. However, after stepping away for a few years, traveling the world and holding jobs from DJ to butler, Martin found himself a designer based in China once again.

This time, Martin put in a lot of effort, working his way from a garage-sized space to a 60,000 square meter workspace. Today, he has reached a point where he sells about 160,000 chairs per month. Martin has learned to value every step of the production process, from the car-inspired wood cutting to the scrape-preventing carpeted packaging room. Despite initially coming here for business, Martin has grown to appreciate and give back to the community through charity work.