Looking for a new journey, Michael Young moved to Hong Kong in 2006 where he was quickly intrigued by the highly evolved engineering skills and manufacturing opportunities. With a spirit of industrial adventure, the British designer likes to explore the facilities of the local factories and pushes its traditional techniques to new limits.

Michael Young - Photo © Architonic

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Michael Young - Photo © Architonic

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Architonic met Michael Young during the London Design Festival to speak about his passion for pioneering technology.

If you had to confine yourself to a single material for the next three years, which one would you choose and why?

Michael Young: "I think it would be injected anodized aluminium foam. It is a process that architects have used before and I’ve been developing it in Asia during some exhibitions for around the world. So I started making it myself by creating my own tooling, injecting aluminium with gas, 800 degree Celcius. I think it got plenty potential to keep me excited for three years. There is enough flexibility in the material. So yes, it could keep me entertained probably even for the rest of my life, to be honest.

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Video © Architonic

Aluminium is one of the materials that Michael Young has focused intensively on. The Chair 4A for EOQ is made using extruded and stamped recycled aluminium. He captured the engineering skills employed by local industry and puts that depth of knowledge in aluminium research into furniture design. The chair comes in six different finishes including anodised, powder coated, and polished aluminium.

Metal Rock Oxygen Chair for Hedge Gallery, 2015

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Metal Rock Oxygen Chair for Hedge Gallery, 2015

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Starting with the same extrusion process, the soft forms of the dub pendant lights for EOQ were sculpted by removing much of the aluminium material. This allowed encasing the resultant space in hand‐blown glass vessels produced in the Czech Republic. The extruded aluminium fins, combined with the glass, allow light to be diffused, creating an ambient glow.

Hex Chair for Hedge Gallery, 2012

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Hex Chair for Hedge Gallery, 2012

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Is there a material that you could immediately reject?

No, I think all materials are interesting. It really just depends on the sort of context with which you use them, quite frankly speaking. I have always found plastic quite challenging, mainly because it doesn’t age particularly well. But I understand its functionality, which is pretty much the only reason why I never designed an all in one plastic chair. Though, as time goes by, my interest in doing that ‐ regardless of that concept ‐ is growing stronger. So every material has its place.

Chair 4A for EOQ, 2012

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Chair 4A for EOQ, 2012

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Besides designing for companies, do you also produce yourself?

I started off making things in workshops over 23 years ago, so being hands on or getting dirty in a workshop is not something I'm afraid of. Though the only things I produce myself are really the editions that I put up in art events, so to speak. Having the opportunity to do work in galleries or like what I did last year at the FOG art fair in San Francisco helps me return to the real reason why I started design, and that is because I can make something. It is a bit like cooking ‐ you get an instant response to it. That sort of gratification is quite nice from time to time, because traditionally design takes a year or two to get an object from start to finish. At the end it is design as industrial art that interests me most, but on a scale of mass production.

Dub Light for EOQ, 2015

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Dub Light for EOQ, 2015

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Carbon Fiber Chair (Copper) for Coalesse, 2014

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Carbon Fiber Chair (Copper) for Coalesse, 2014

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Carbon Fiber Chair (Copper) for Coalesse, 2014

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Carbon Fiber Chair (Copper) for Coalesse, 2014

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Bayer Shelving for EOQ, 2013

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Bayer Shelving for EOQ, 2013

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Homune Table for Lasvit, 2012

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Homune Table for Lasvit, 2012

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Otto Bar stool for EOQ, 2014

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Otto Bar stool for EOQ, 2014

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Orsted Desk for EOQ, 2013

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Orsted Desk for EOQ, 2013

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Carbon Coen Chair for DD3, 2009

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Carbon Coen Chair for DD3, 2009

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Lancaster Chair for Emeco, 2010

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Lancaster Chair for Emeco, 2010

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Avalon Chair for Swedese, 2010

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Avalon Chair for Swedese, 2010

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Tree for Swedese, 2001 (project with Katrin Olina)

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Tree for Swedese, 2001 (project with Katrin Olina)

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Clover Light for Lasvit, 2013

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Clover Light for Lasvit, 2013

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Sticklight for Innermost, 2007

Material Tendencies: Michael Young | Nouveautés

Sticklight for Innermost, 2007

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