Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
I was born and raised in the neighbouring villages around Keighley. I lived in the rural countryside which was a great way to be raised, although it made for quite a commute to my secondary school in Pudsey. I left school at 16 as I was not a fan of the education system, and went to be an electrician through an apprenticeship scheme. A year into that I found out a college in Preston did a motorsports mechanic course. Racing was something that I’d always been interested in. I continued racing through college and university (where I studied Performance Driving) before giving up the sport in 2012 – I realised I wasn’t going to be able to make a career out of it and needed a more traditional line of work. I started working for my father’s commercial lighting manufacturing business in West Yorkshire. Here I gained lots of skills, from design and operation to general business skills, before I decided to take the leap and start a business by myself with help from The Prince’s Trust. Three years later I’m still running my business and learning more and more.
When did you first discover that you have a passion for design?
Design has always been within me. I can remember from a young age always making things out of anything I could find. I remember specifically making aeroplanes out of plain paper and sellotape because I found the Airfix models, where you just glue them together, a bit simple and boring. My family has always been involved too – my grandad and great grandad were joiners and my dad has a manufacturing business. I was always surrounded by machines and tools to play around with. I have never been trained in design. I guess I’ve taught myself from observing and getting stuck in.
What’s the arts scene like in West Yorkshire?
There’s a booming arts scene in West Yorkshire. Leeds College of Art is probably at the centre, but it stretches all over West Yorkshire into the smallest villages. It’s a really good place to make contacts, go to workshops, or just find some unique, quirky shops.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
That’s a good question because I don’t have a favourite artist or designer. I just know what I like and what looks good to me. I take inspiration from the objects around me. I love offcuts from machines and waste material. You get the coolest shapes and patterns that you wouldn’t ever have thought of.
What recent trends have you seen in contemporary design?
The trend that jumps into my head is the rebirth of the 1960s furniture leg. It’s the small, round tapered leg that’s fixed at an angle – and looks like it is going to snap if any more weight is added to the furniture. They have stormed the market, and I quite like it. I used a similar look on a piece of furniture a few years ago with triangular legs and it worked really well.
Where did the idea for the Christmas Tree come from?
It was the timing of when I started my business really. I quit my day job without much of a plan, apart from knowing that the biggest marketplace of the year was approaching and I wanted a piece of it. I decided to redesign the artificial Christmas tree as it was something that I was not fond of and kept seeing everywhere. But the fact that I managed to address all the issues people have with any real or artificial tree surprised even me. There are no needles, it’s adaptable to fit close to walls and snug in corners by removing branches, it illuminates itself so no need for untangling fairy lights, it comes in different sizes and colours, you can paint and decorate it how you wish, and it actually looks like a Christmas tree. You can also put incense oil in the base which the light warms up to get the Christmas aromas you don’t get from artificial trees. Within a week I had the first prototype, the following week production started and I was off, making trees during the week and selling them on stalls at the weekend.
How would you describe your style?
I would call my style geometric Fibonacci.
What’s next for George Scott Design?
I’d like to take the flat pack concept of the Christmas Trees and use it in everyday lighting and possibly furniture. I feel it’s a great way of supplying furniture – not only is it easier to stock and deliver from my end, with a lower carbon footprint, but the customer gets a cheaper product, without compromising on quality. They also get to build the product without all the screws and bolts of traditional flat pack furniture. My simple instructions and joining methods have been described as ‘pleasurable’ and ‘rewarding’ by many customers, so I’d like to move this concept forward. I have some really big plans for the future, and I can’t wait to see their success.
George Scott Design