In Good Company: Samuel Chan, Channels
Samuel Chan set up furniture company, Channels, in 1995. Samuel Chan: Design Purity and Craft Principles by Charlotte and Peter Fiell published by Laurence King, is being launched at the London Design Festival. The new illustrated publication is the first comprehensive retrospective of Chan’s work.
When was the company founded? In the autumn of 1995, shortly after my wife Shirley and I found an old upholstery workshop on the New King’s Road and turned it into the Channels studio-showroom.
How many staff? In the UK, there are 12 of us.
Where is it based? Our studio-showroom is in Chelsea, and the Channels workshop is in Wem, a small market town in Shropshire.
What is your latest significant achievement/project of note? Being the subject of a new monograph by Charlotte and Peter Fiell. Ironically, reflecting on my story with them made me realise that aside from the awards and other nameable achievements, what’s more significant is the excitement I still have for my work and persevering through the daily challenges of running a design business.
What is your best selling product? Most of my designs are commissions, so they are bespoke one-off pieces. One of the collections we do make as standard is the Finnieston lights – a handcrafted, timber interpretation of the industrial scissor lamp – and that has fared well.
I’ve just discovered… on a family holiday to Hokkaido this summer – just how much I like Japanese food. It’s clean, simple, beautifully executed and deeply satisfying – the same things I strive for in furniture design.
Who inspires me… There have been a few, but I’ll name just one: Mr Knock, my woodwork master at school. He was the one who suggested that I pursue design as a career. He’s in his 90s now, but still full of encouragement and good advice.
I’ve always been a fan of… Tottenham Hotspur. And Le Corbusier’s Petit Confort sofa, the first and only sofa we ever bought.
My highlight of the last 12 months… Apart from working with the Fiells on the book, I enjoyed collaborating with the shoe designer Beatrix Ong on Shoe Tree, a piece for the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan.
My next design trip is to… Granary Square, King’s Cross, to launch my new furniture designs and the book at designjunction.