With a background in product design, European furniture and business, Philip Hills brings a valuable set of skills and experience to KE-ZU. Meet Philip, who joined KE-ZU in July 2018 to in July 2018 to manage the development of KE-ZU’s wholesale and specialised products division.
What does your role involve?
I manage the development of our wholesale and specialised products division. I drive the expansion of our product range through engagement with our distributors nationally. It’s a varied role that draws on all my skills in both a commercial and operational capacity.
What attracted you to KE-ZU?
Apart from the obvious of great products and great culture, I wanted my career to focus on B2B and data-driven business decisions. After 12 years in residential and retail, I felt I needed a change from B2C. I have learnt how furniture is made and now I want to learn more about where the product is used by our clients on a global scale.
Where did you work prior to KEZU?
I was with SPACE for three and a half years, so I’ve learnt a lot about imported high-end European design.
What was your career path into high-end furniture design?
I came to the world of design via telecommunications and furniture making. Having spent more than a decade building a successful career in the rank and file where I worked in London, Europe, Hong Kong and Sydney, I eventually found that career path proved unsatisfying. In 2006 – when I was 34 and before it was too late, kids, second mortgage, etc. – I did a complete career flip to fulfil my passion in furniture design.
Can you tell me about your own furniture design?
studioMAIZON, like all good start-ups, was created in a mate’s garage. Being a self-taught designer/maker studioMAIZON produced some pretty edgy pieces as I wasn’t bound by the traditional elements of design. I found I naturally had a good sense of materiality, derived from spending much of my youth in the sheds of my father and grandfather who were both very skilled, hands-on men.
Originality is key for me. Because I’ve never studied, my designs weren’t like anything else. It was literally a philosophy of making anything out of anything. I’m not at the bench at all these days preferring instead to focus the efforts of studioMAIZON on my self-designed ECO|shelf|.
What’s your favourite piece at KE-ZU?
At the moment, the Gweilo floor and table lamps by Partisans for Parachilna. Look what they have achieved with a piece of Perspex!
And a favourite non-KE-ZU piece?
Did I mention I made furniture?! It really has to be one of my own pieces – the Link coffee table. Getting the seamless joining of the bent plywood took unbelievable determination.
What do you believe the value of good design is?
“Nothing is more expensive to us and the environment than bad design.”