Charles Wilson is a free-lance industrial designer best known for his design of upholstered furniture.
After graduating from the University of Technology in 1991, Charles formed a co-operative workshop with fellow graduates developing a collection of experimental furniture. His first production design was the SW1 Swivel chair for Norman + Quaine, the piece that introduced his work to Woodmark. It is now held in the permanent collection of Sydney's Powerhouse Museum.
In 2001 Woodmark commissioned Charles to design a compact sofa. His conceptual work for the sofa led to a multitude of sketches and prototypes, which in turn were developed into an extensive collection of sofas, chairs and tables. Consisting of four ranges, the CP1, the 801, Lamella and Julep, this collection has been a great success and has received critical acclaim Australia-wide and internationally.
The R50 lounge series, released in March 2005, consists of a corner piece and multiple variations to a fixed length lounge. The continuous use of radii 50 unifies the overall element of design. "My intention was simply to design a sofa using the sort of sleek, asymmetric forms that would work in well with contemporary interiors - both commercial and domestic. I was also thinking of how people use a piece of furniture like this in different ways: sitting, lying - perching even: hence the wide low arm which could be used as a platform for trays, laptops, etc, or as a place to sit when you just don't want to commit to relaxation."
A second new lounge and ottoman, Boulder, also released in March 2005, was inspired by a grinding stone used for pounding grain that Charles grew up with. "It had a slender, tapering form, blunted and smooth from years of use," he recalls. "I was also interested in reworking the lines of previous designs such as the 801 Sofa in a far more organic direction. The scalloped arm for instance, which is comfortable and embracing, has been developed as a continuous sweep. This stretched form, which is achieved using molded foam, is echoed in the ottoman. Again, comfort and use were considered here, as both an object to sit on or lean into."
Recent commissions include the design of a suit of furniture for the state Drawing Room, NSW Government House, and Base, a modular sofa for Living Edge. In addition Charles also works with a number of international manufacturers. These include Danish companies MENU and Paustian and the Indian stainless steel home-wares manufacturer, Magppie.
Described by the Australian Financial Review as “arguably the most talented designer in Australia”, Charles’s design work has achieved much acclaim in recent years. He is the winner of a number of prestigious design awards including the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery award, for “Spool”, The Australian Design Award for his Candelabra for MENU, and LaunchPad New Designer of the Year.
Charles divides his time between living in Sydney, and at the farm where he grew up in Forbes, central NSW.