Decca London Blog


 

Designers

Prev      |      Next

Meet David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio

Mark Saffell adn David Ritch are the 3D part of the 5D Studio, a multidisciplinary studio with expertise in graphic design (2D) and contract furniture and interior design (3D).

This interview aims to give you an insight into David’s and Marks’ inspiration behind the collections that they designed for both Decca Contract and Elan by Decca (divisions of Decca Ltd.)

“5D. Small in size. Intense in scope.”


 

Could you tell us a bit more about the history of 5D Studio, what are the key milestones of your business?

A couple years out of college we met while working for Donald Chadwick. In this small studio we found ourselves working on some very innovative projects including the Aeron chair for Herman Miller. During this time we began our collaboration designing simple wood chairs and upholstery pieces. We soon left and formed the 3D part of 5D Studio, methodically building our clientele and expanding our portfolio. Today, we have a diverse portfolio of designs and clients.

The memorable milestones are those projects that have had an amazing team of people involved, received industry recognition because of innovation and reached higher than anticipated sales volume.

David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio // Interview with Decca London // Contract furniture

David Ritch and Mark Saffell working on the prototype chairs for the Bing Collection

What attracted you to product design, how has your work evolved over the years?

Mark: I studied Interior Architecture at the Ringling College of Art and Design. While in school I won a couple outdoor furniture competitions, peaking my interest in furniture design as a career path. After moving to Los Angeles I created one off and limited edition furniture pieces, showing them at galleries and retail stores. I always loved the scale of furniture as a creative piece and the fact that there is this intimacy in the way you interact with it.

David: As a kid, I was always taking things apart and building things, I had this curiosity for how things were put together. My father turned me on to the world of architecture and I eventually studied urban planning for 2 years before pursuing an Industrial Design degree. I tailored studio projects when I could to involve furniture design and did my senior thesis on the ideation process of seating. Furniture design seemed to be the perfect blend of product design and architecture for me.

Our work has remained essentially the same over the years, or at least our design ethos has not changed. Our solutions have changed as we respond to the demands of the evolving workplace.

“We believe evolution is the key to being relevant.”  

David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio // Interview with Decca London // Contract furniture // sketch of the float desk

Sketch of the Float Work Wall designed by David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Designing products that solve problems in a simple, visually appealing, clear voice.

How do you see luxury office contract market developing? What would you like to see change? 

In the past, luxury office products relied heavily on premium materials and finishes. Today they must also bring a level of performance and innovation required for these working, collaborating, and learning environments.

“We hope that the industry begins to see that these products are a key component in creating a holistic environment.”

David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio // Interview with Decca London // Float Work Wall // Luxury Executive office furniture

Float Collection has been rewarded with the Interior Design’s Best of Year Awards 2013

Float Work Wall has hit a very good note in the UK executive office market where we have recently launched it. What was your main inspiration for designing this collection and do you see it developing further?

Float was a culmination of over a decade of designing private office case goods. It seemed each new case good line was an evolution of the first, continuing the effort to simplify, lighten and reduce the volumes while addressing the changing work environment. We strove to raise and reduce the mass off the ground, to elevate and unburden.

Float Collection designed by David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio for Elan by Decca and Decca Contract // luxury office furniture // lounge seating // executive office furniture

Float Collection

Float Collection designed by David Ritch and Mark Saffell of 5D Studio for Elan by Decca and Decca Contract // luxury office furniture // lounge seating // executive office furniture // tablet arm chair

Float detail

For Float upholstery, and occasional furniture – how do you see this tying with the case goods and what was the thought process on their design?

We have been exploring the idea of unifying casual seating and private office case goods for the past few years, moving away from the typical two guest chairs across a pedestal desk. Float seating was an opportunity to bring collaborative interactions into the private office in a more casual and meaningful way.

What are your thoughts regarding the current trend of having Height Adjustable Desk in the office? Do you think it is a ‘fad’ for healthier living or the future?

The adjustable height desk is a trend that has come to be commonplace in the last year or two. It’s not so much a fad but a response to the conventional wisdom that sedentary activity is not healthy. An adjustable desk is one way to promote a more kinetic workday, but it is certainly not the only way. We are sure that this more active mode of working will manifest itself in new products in addition to the adjustable desk.

Float Collection // Height Adjustable Desk video

The Bing Collection will be our main star of this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week. Could you tell us what was the main inspiration, and which is your personal favourite of this “family”?

We were drawn to Mid-Century Danish modern designers such as Arne Jacobson and Hans Wegner. The Luxe Lounge was probably the most enjoyable, a rare opportunity to design a wing back lounge that is steeped in history. The Work Lounge addresses applications more common in the work environment and will see more opportunities.

Bing Luxe Lounge Chair // Luxury office furniture // Executive leather arm chair by Decca London

Bing Luxe Lounge Chair

Bing Work Lounge Chair // Luxury office furniture by Decca London

Bing Work Lounge Chairs

View our video that sums up all features of the Bing Collection:

Bing Collection, a lounge seating furniture range ideal for both residential and office spaces

Of your other designs for Decca which particularly pleases you and which was the easiest development process?

The Bing Collection was a great experience as we got to walk the line between residential and contract design. The result is a design that poses the comfort and aesthetic in tune with residential environments; with the added functionality demanded for work and learning environments.

Bing Collection designed by Mark Saffell and David Ritch for Elan by Decca // Decca London

Bing Collection displayed at NeoCon 2015

The Ethos Collection is also one of our favourites, it was the first piece we designed for Decca and was a logical starting point for Elan’s expansion into the contract environment. A new interpretation of the classic tuxedo sofa; scale, comfort and detail drove the development process. 

Lounge chair from the Ethos Collection designed by Mark Saffell and David Ritch for Elan by Decca // Decca London

Lounge Chairs from the Ethos Collection


 

Ritch and Saffell, as 5D Studio, have been recognised with numerous awards including Best of competition at Neocon, Best of Competition Nightingale Award, IDSA- Design of the Decade, ID Annual design Review, Office Insight's Most Excellent Award, IIDA Acclaim Award, IIDEX, Good Design Award and Interior Design Best of the Year. Their work has also been featured in exhibits at the Cooper Hewitt National Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Design.

BACK TO TOP