Interview: Geoffrey Lilge
by / September 5, 2005


Geoffrey Lilge is an Industrial Designer with more than ten years of experience designing furniture and home accesories. Co-founder and design / marketing director for Canadian home accessories manufacturer Pure Design Ltd, Lilge has worked closely with designers such as Richard Hutten, Karim Rashid, Constantin Boym, Scot Laughton, Shin & Tomoko Azumi, Stephen Burks, and many others. His passion for the collaborative process is evident in past work with Pure Design
and his new collection of ceramics; Object Collection. JGB

ML: What have you learned working with designers such as Karim Rashid or Richard Hutten that has shaped your own work today?

GL: All of the designers that I've worked with have an insatiable desire to create something innovative to experience that type of energy leaves a deep impression. I saw that experienced designers stay true to their vision by knowing the manufacturing process inside out, allowing them to design a product that can be produced without compromise, which I appreciated as a manufacturer. And above all, I saw that it is important to be a champion of quality, without quality you have nothing.

pure_richard_hutton_coattru.jpg
"Coattrunk" Design: Richard Hutten, 2001. Manufactured by Pure Design.

ML: Pure Design was a innovative and contemporary furniture line, tell us more about that...

GL: Looking back, the most successful products the company produced were experimental in nature, where ideas were as important as style. It is simply more interesting to develop products that feature a material in a new way, are innovative functionally or explore the aesthetic of a particular designer. There were several products that achieved all of these elements, and it was rewarding to see them do well in the marketplace. As a young company, there were no guidelines to follow, design really did dictate the direction of the company.

pure_karim_rashid_arp_stool.jpg
"Arp" Barstool Design: Karim Rashid, 1996. Manufactured by Pure Design.

ML: What is going on with Pure Design today?

GL: Two years after I left the company it was aquired by OFFI, they are currently re-introducing the best selling Pure Design items to the market. I am also developing several new items for them.

geoffrey_lilge_laz_barbench.jpg
"Laz Barbench" Design: Geoffrey Lilge, 2001. Manufactured by Pure Design.

ML: What about Object Collection? What inspired you to move toward the smaller-scale ceramic objects?

GL: Ceramics are obviously a great medium to explore form, even more so when using rapid prototyping to develop the tooling. It is a material that will literally last forever, that heirloom aura is appealing to any designer.

geoffrey_lilge_w-vase.jpg
"W-Vase" Design: Geoffrey Lilge, 2004. Manufactured by Object Collection.

ML: Technology now allows designers like Michael Young to have their design firms anywhere in the world, while maintaining connections with clients around the globe, what are you thoughts on this?

GL: It is an interesting time to be in business, any business. Theoretically, a designer can outsource and manage online every step in the prototyping, manufacturing, sales and distribution channel; without a brick and mortar location, just a laptop. That said, nothing can replace the face-to-face connections that you need to make it all happen smoothly.

geoffrey_lilge_nodo_fruit_b.jpg
"Nodo" Fruit Bowl Design: Geoffrey Lilge, 2004. Manufactured by Object Collection.

ML: What are your three favorite designs?

GL: At this particular moment; Vertigo Table - Eero Koivisto, Easy Chair - Jerszy Seymour, Sedici Animali - Enzo Mari.

ML: What are the key elements to a successful piece of furniture/ home accessory?

GL: Beauty, quality and saleability.

geoffrey_lilge_form_2_vase.jpg
"Form 2" Vase Design: Geoffrey Lilge, 2004. Manufactured by Object Collection.

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