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Meet the Makers

17 Mar 2021 |  Design Inspiration

Tom Fereday

"Where you find quality, you will find a craftsman." - David King

For over forty years, King has built a reputation for handcrafted quality. And behind that reputation is a team of highly skilled master craftspeople and designers who work together to create the furniture that’s built to last a lifetime.

In 1977, David King and his mother Gwen began handcrafting furniture from their family home. As the business grew, they moved operations to Annandale into a space that served as both showroom and factory. Here, they surrounded themselves with craftspeople whose skill and experience helped King push boundaries of what furniture could do.

Today, King is a global business, but the commitment to quality Australian designed furniture endures. To celebrate the King Anniversary, we invite you to meet the makers.

Rolly - Pattern and Fit Specialist

Eto Desk

Imagine being able to look at a design and instantly understand how the fabric will work and where the problems might lie. This is the level of expertise Rolly, a master tailor by trade brings to his work as Pattern and Fit Specialist at King.

A true artisan, Rolly joined King back in the 1980s. He worked with David designing and refining some of the earliest King designs, including the Nova and Ultima sofas.

"Back then, we worked upstairs at Annandale. My cutting table was in the middle of the room with the sewers all around me," says Rolly. "When David found out I was a tailor, he asked me to help him with a new design. I said, sure, just give me a drawing, and I can create something for you, and that's how we started."

Tailored removable covers

Rolly played a major role in developing the removable covers that have featured across King furniture since 1978. Removable covers are intrinsic to the King philosophy of designing quality furniture that stands the test of time. Having the option to renew your covers extends the longevity of each piece, reducing the amount of furniture destined for landfill.

When it came to refining the removable covers, Rolly approached the problem like the master tailor he is.

“Removable covers need to slip on and off easily,” says Rolly. "So I thought I'm going to dress this sofa like a tailor dresses a person. When I'm creating patterns, I look for ways to make everything easier, for the cutter, for the sewer and of course for the customer."

Eto Desk

Zaza's organic design features adjustable arms and backs.

As Rolly explains, unlike people, furniture can't tell you where something is too tight or too loose, so you need to understand how the fabric will respond to the design. Rolly used this innate understanding to help leading Australian designer Charles Wilson refine the fit for Zaza.

"Zaza looks so beautiful and simple, but it's very tricky to make it fit well because when you bend the components, you have to make sure the sofa keeps its shape."

The sewing room

Lucy is one of the many skilled machinists in the Sydney sewing room.

Once the pattern has been refined and versioned to work with different fabrics and leathers, it's the job of the highly skilled King pattern cutters and machinists to create the covers. King furniture is custom made, and every removable cover is crafted by hand.

Machinists like Lucy have been working in the Sydney sewing room for over 25 years. She's part of the team whose craft can be seen in the quality finish of King furniture. Working with heavy leathers and a diverse range of fabrics requires exceptional skill.

Chair by King

Chair, one of the earliest sofas designed by David and Gwen King.

The team in the Sydney sewing room specialise in making replacement covers for King customers. Many of these date back to King designs from the 1970s and '80s. The team recently brought an original Chair sofa back to life, restoring the foam and recovering the modular components in a forest green wool boucle. Designed in 1977, Chair is the perfect example of how new covers can bring new life to a classic King design. 

In-house design team

In-house design team

The King Design Team: Stasie Panagopoulos, Alinta Lim, Bradley Saywell, David King, David Hardwick, Joseph Romano.

King furniture is designed in Australia. The Sydney-based design team collaborates with the craftspeople to create new and innovative designs and evolve existing King products. As designers, one of their main concerns is solving problems by delivering solutions that enhance people's lives; this recurring theme can be seen across the entire King collection. 

"We are acutely aware of how much furniture interacts with our customers on a daily basis, and so we want to ensure that our products truly improve the everyday lives of all our customers." David Hardwick, Head of Product Design.

Take both Delta III and Jasper II, award-winning designs that build upon the success of the original designs with innovations such as Smart Pockets™ that allow for integrated accessories like Led lights and side tables with optional wireless charging.  

Delta III

Then, of course, the King aesthetic embraces the effortless simplicity and authentic Australian lifestyle. As Bradley Saywell from the King design team explains, the brands unique Australian perspective is an innate response to the surroundings. 

“We're always designing in the context in which we live,” says Bradley. “By designing as Australians, you're considering how your friends, your family and the people around you live. Without even thinking about it, we take all that knowledge and bring it into the designs.”


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