Wilhon Design was born out of a shared desire to do things our own way. To take creative control, and for the challenge of converting that creative energy into a real thing.
We are in it for the enjoyment – the feeling of knowing that people out there are enjoying the designs we have created is its own reward.
We only take on challenges if we can say ‘yes’ to two questions:
Is it fun?
Do we like it?
We are massive fans of modernist architecture and simple, elegant, functional design.
All our products have been created because they mean something to us. All we want to do is design great stuff, and have fun doing it – we are here to create nice things and not the ‘next big thing’.
Our range of architecture-inspired homewares start out as visions in our heads of buildings that are an integral part of our lives.
We admire the beauty and attention to detail in the architecture around us and then distill this down to the simplest geometrical forms using photographs and sketches. Then we draw out these simple shapes using 3D CAD software.
The product always evolves as part of this process, as we work hard to find only the most important details of the design and keep things as simple as possible. Our manufacturing process forces us into a stark contrast between positive and negative space – the solid material and the cut-outs of the profile – so it will usually take a few attempts before we get to the designs you see here. Before committing to manufacturing a product, we will prototype it the old-fashioned way – printing out a 1:1 copy of the design and cutting it out by hand.
Once we are happy with everything, we create a 2D technical manufacturing drawing from the 3D CAD – this contains all the information needed to make the part, including the material, size, and colour.
At our specialist metal fabricator, based in the South of the UK, sheet steel is loaded onto the bed of the laser cutter and flat patterns of our design are cut out. The process is completely digital and computer-controlled. The closely-detailed profiles are accurate to a tolerance of less than a tenth of a millimetre.
Once the blanks are removed from the laser cutter, they are bent into shape using a high-pressure press brake to create the final form.
Finally, these formed bare steel components are powder coated to provide the final high-quality coloured finish: the pieces are sprayed with a powder, which is matched to a RAL colour reference number, and hung in an industrial oven to cure.
The final result is the crisp, beautiful product that shows off the most striking elements of the original building.
Once we receive the products from the fabricator, we rigorously quality-check every item one by one. We are checking that everything is made to our technical drawing, and keeping an eye out for any imperfections in the finish or damage from transit and handling. Only once a part has passed this check will it be packaged up and ready for sale.
Our boxes come flat-packed and so the first step in getting a batch of stock ready for sale is sitting down with the glue gun and assembling them all. Labels are printed and hand-stuck onto the box. Any finishing touches are added to the parts (things like rubber feet) before it is placed in the box, sealed up and ready to go.
We do all this from our home in Surbiton, where we try to let elegant design inform everything we do…
We have more architecture-inspired products on the way, all of them buildings that mean something to us.
Further into the future, we have ideas to design mugs, fabrics, furniture and other homeware – wherever we can create something beautiful and simple we are eager to have a go!