Chris Redfern shouldn’t worry himself about youth. The British-born designer is only 36. For one-third of his life he has worked with Ettore Sottsass. And since Sottsass’ death in December 2007, Redfern has deftly led the studio in closing one chapter and starting a new one.
His rise was quick. After earning a degree in graphic design from Norwich School of Art, he found work designing toys in Hong Kong. “I knew the heart of mainstream industrialization was in China,” he says, but he also realized “there’s got to be more to design” than launching Bert and Ernie dolls or executing the designs of others. He enrolled in Domus Academy’s master’s program in industrial design in 1995, shivered through a six-month stint with Thomas Eriksson Arkitekter in Stockholm, and then found his way back to Milan and Sottsass Associati thanks to having made a good impression on James Irvine.