On the sofa with

James Melia

Date
June 11, 2021
Founder & Creative Director, Blond
What they do:
Product Design
What we do for client:
Public Relations

James founded award-winning, strategy-led creative studio Blond in 2015. Based in the heart of East London, Blond’s team of eight product designers is focused on conscious design, a discipline that dictates that products should be useful (have purpose and positive impact), deliberate (have a strong narrative with no superfluous detail) and aware (leave a legacy for future generations).

Q: What drew you to product design?

As a child I was quite artistic and always building something. Like many designers, I’m dyslexic and never wanted to study something academic – I went to Nottingham Trent University and got a 1st Class Honours in Furniture and Product Design.

 

Q: What does it take to be a good product designer?

An understanding of manufacturing, a passion for aesthetics, a desire to solve problems, a thick skin and being a good listener and observer. Not necessarily in that order.

James Melia, founder and creative director of Blond

 

Q: What is your process when approaching a brief?

The team works closely using a highly strategic, linear workflow:

  • Listen and understand
  • Research
  • Strategize
  • Ideate and Innovate
  • Design
  • Refine
  • Support the manufacturer

 

Q: Who or what are your biggest influences?

Mies Van Der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Bruno Munari to name just a few. I love Hans Wegner’s work – I even have a Wishbone chair tattoo on my arm. However, as I’m a very observant person, I would say that I am more influenced by the world around me. I notice innovations in urban infrastructure in cities I visit for the first time, for example.

 

Q: Who would be your dream client?

There are many as our work spans so many sectors. In furniture and lighting, I would love to work with Vitra, Hem, Muuto or Flos. My top tech brands are Bang&Olufsen, Sonos and Samsung. And my favourite fashion accessories labels are Nike, Adidas, Rimowa and On Running.

Blond industrial product design agency based in London

 

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