Born in 1988, Webber grew up in New Zealand and spent his childhood on the floor of his fathers’ plywood business. He always had a fascination with designing and building things. He completed a Bachelor of Design in 2009 and went on to create his own design studio and creates his own brand of furniture. Tim Webber Design is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand but his pieces continue to gain worldwide recognition.
How would you describe a typical day for you?
Early mornings always start with time spent with my little boy, he’s 4 months now, so it’s great starting to see a bit of his personality come through.
Usually I head to a local café to start the day with a coffee and initial emails, and miss the morning traffic. Then it’s into the studio for working on new products, team meetings, likely a visit to one of our manufacturing partners, as well as meetings with architect and designer clients. They’re busy days so it’s all about trying to stay on task!
How do you define great design?
Personally I feel great design is defined by its ability to positively impact on someone’s life. This could be as simple as an aesthetical appreciation, to a design that truly affects their well-being. With regard to furniture design, I’m constantly trying to design in a way that is functional, innovative and timeless, to cultivate products that positively impact on the way people are able to use and enjoy the spaces they live or work in.
What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a design project? Which piece of information is of utmost value?
I try to write a design brief to set myself parameters for each new product. So I ask questions like, who is the product for? What kind of space could it sit in? What’s its purpose? What price does it need to sell for? What materials do I want to explore?
These questions give me a good starting point for the direction of the project or product and try keep it on track, whilst still allowing for unexpected inspiration.
Is there a certain New Zealand aesthetic that you could define?
I think a clean, simple and honest aesthetic seems to underline a lot of New Zealand design.
What inspires you?
From a design perspective my inspiration can stem from anywhere and everywhere, it could be the beams and struts under a bridge, or the small intricacies of a patterns on a leaf. It’s just a matter of keeping an eye out for details that inspire.
Business wise, I love having friends that own businesses too and seeing them grow and thrive, it pushes me to keep striving.
What as the moment you knew what you wanted to do as a career?
After my first sale of a piece of furniture I got such a kick out of someone having one of my designs in their home and as a part of their everyday life, that feeling drove me to keep going.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
I find momentum really important to keeping creativity flowing, so when I get stuck it’s often when I’ve let the momentum slow. Some dedicated time with my sketch book away from the office and distraction helps jump start me again.
What do you want people to see in your work now?
I’d hope people see innovative and inspiring designs that enrich their lives through the day-to-day interaction they have with the product and the spaces they live in.
How do you hope people will look back on your work in a 100 years?
I hope they’ll still see my designs as current and modern as the time they’re in. If I can achieve producing products that can be passed down through generations and still be appreciated no matter the era, then I’ll feel I’ve really achieved something great.
How do you balance work & life?
It’s more of a balancing act than ever now with a little one in our lives. So when I’m at home it’s very much dedicated to family time with my wife Britt and son Archie, then during work hours the aim is to achieve as much as humanly possible – however, I’m often found working late into the evening to keep on top of everything. I think anyone that owns a business and is passionate about it will know that your mind never really turns off!
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given?
My father is a great hero of mine, and I have always lent on his advice and wisdom. He taught me to always put others above yourself. I don’t only try to apply this within my personal life for my friends and family, but also within my business for my customers and staff too.
What is your life motto?
I try to live my life by not being so caught up and focused on the destination, but enjoying the journey and celebrating the small wins along the way.
Images from Tim Webber Design