William Plunkett (1928 - 2013) was a key figure in post War British design and employed his knowledge of engineering with a flair for sculptural design to create some of the most iconic furniture of the 60s period.
William followed an unusual path to realise his creative output. He trained as an army officer at Sandhurst and served in the Royal Artillery from 1948 for 11 years. Plunkett then enrolled at Kingston School of Art in 1959 and specialised in sculpture and furniture.
He won the 1961 Aeropreen Award with a chair constructed in flat-bar steel with Pirelli webbing and went on to set up his own company in 1963.
“My generation of designers were idealists. We really believed we could make a difference to Britain by producing well-designed products.”
Plunkett‘s preference for metalworking and his attention toward form and construction ensured designs were both sculptural and architectural.
The labour-intensive nature of his designs created a high retail price. This was married with uncompromising modernity and meant only selected design-conscious retailers offered his work and exports accounted for a significant proportion of the company's output through the 1960s.
‘Plunkett’s designs accent purity of form and craftsmanship' British Export Gazette, 1964
Plunkett found success within high-end interiors and furnished many architecturally significant interiors including Commercial Unions headquarters and the QE2. He held a longstanding relationship with Russell and Bromley and furnished their stores throughout the UK with Kingston range and other bespoke designs. The continued existence of his designs is a testament to both their structural and aesthetic longevity.