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Q&A with Ercol's Edward Tadros
We have a very special blog for you this week as we share an exclusive interview with Edward Tadros – ercol's Chairman and grandson of ercol’s founder Lucian Ercolani.
Ercol is known worldwide for its use of lighter woods such as elm, beech and ash, but at this year’s Salone in Milan you introduced walnut into the collection for the first time. Why now?
Walnut is a very classical timber for furniture and has been used for centuries. We have had some quite playful variants on our Original range, especially with colours and fabrics, so we thought now it might be nice to try something different for the wood choice.
Ercol has recently collaborated with Tamasyn Gambell and Timorous Beasties who have both designed contemporary upholstery for a number of ercol Originals. How did these collaborations come about – did you approach them, or them you?
These collaborations seem to come about more by chance meetings or conversations than by a careful plan! The first collaboration we did with Timorous Beasties was in 2009 for a show we did with Designersblock in Milan, and we have just kept in touch since then. Sometimes Paul Simmons from Timorous Beasties will call me and say ‘how about trying this’, on other occasions I call him. I think we met Tamasyn Gambell at Tent one year and asked her to do some fabrics for us. So the relationships happened very organically.
The Originals collection has received a lot of press in recent years and its popularity is soaring, in both the UK and international markets. Is this something you envisioned for the brand?
I think we have been a little surprised at how well received the Originals have been. Especially in international markets where they are often perceived as being brand new designs and not pieces that have been in almost continual production for nearly 60 years!
How important is colour to ercol? Who chooses the colours that will make their way into the collection, and what is the process for this?
We try and use colours as a vehicle for always being able to present ercol Originals as ‘on trend’. We used Pantone’s Colour of the Year, emerald, last year but we didn’t much like this year’s Pantone choice (Radiant Orchid) so our Creative Director Rachel Galbraith went for yellow and navy blue. Both seem to be exactly right, especially the yellow which seems to occur in fashion with regularity.
What is your earliest memory of your grandfather and founder of ercol, Lucian Ercolani?
I am lucky enough to remember Lucian as a very benign grandfather who gave me my first bicycle and, later, taught me the pleasure of drinking Chianti! But he was also absolutely instrumental in creating my interest and curiosity in art and design.
What ercol designs do you have in your own home?
I have all sorts from a 1932 prototype bench (you can tell it’s a prototype because the legs are cut off half way down!) to some of our new pieces with a large sprinkling of original Originals in the mix.
Finally, what is a typical day like for you behind the scenes at ercol?
My days, fortunately, seem to be very varied. As we try and grow our international business I have been travelling a lot this year. We’ve shown in Paris, Milan and New York so far. My son Henry, our International Sales Manager, has a 10 day show organized in Kortrijk in October and I shall spend some time there, and I will be going to join our distributor in Tokyo for the Tokyo Design Week in November. In the office, time seems to be spent talking with our MD, Nick Garratt, going over current progress and our future plans. I still like to go around the factory frequently and see what is going on, there is nothing more important than keeping in touch with our craftsmen and women.