Michael Young is a British-born designer who works from studios in Brussels and Reykjavik to create technically rigorous, but always humorous products and furniture.
When Michael Young was invited by Magis, the Italian plastic products manufacturer, to design outdoor furniture “with a smile on its face”, he responded with the engagingly cartoonish Yogi sofa, chair and table. At first glance Yogi looks like children’s furniture, not least because the pieces are so low on the ground. Yet this was a deliberate ploy by Young to ensure that, while children can slip on comfortably, adults will feel incongruous. “Yogi places you in a vaguely humorous predicament and forces you to relax,” he says. “You can’t take yourself too seriously.”
Almost all Michael Young’s designs are intended to “put a smile on your face”. Curvily contoured and brightly coloured, his work is invariably imbued with comic book humour. Born in Sunderland in 1966, he studied furniture and product design at Kingston University from 1989 to 1992 and then worked for four years in Space, a design studio run by Tom Dixon.
In 1994 Young opened his own studio in London and a second space in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, which became his home. He has since developed products and furniture for such manufacturers as Cappellini, Magis and Rosenthal as well as interior projects for the Astro Bar nightclub in Reykjavik and the Mandarina Duck store in Berlin as well as completing an architectural project in Taipei. He now divides his time between Reykjavik and his studio in Brussels.