David Mellor Design operates on the simple principle that well-designed equipment can improve your life.
The company was set up by David Mellor, Royal Designer for Industry. Mellor was a key figure in British design with an international reputation as designer, manufacturer and shopkeeper. Born in Sheffield and originally trained as a silversmith, he always specialised in metalwork and is particularly famous for his cutlery which won numerous design awards and which is in many international collections.
David Mellor CBE, RDI biography
David Mellor, Royal Designer for Industry, was unusual in this country in combining the activities of hands-on craftsman and designer with those of design entrepreneur. He operated as designer, manufacturer and retailer, seeing the designer's function as controlling a product through all stages from concept to customer. He felt it his mission to improve design standards over a broad spectrum, directly affecting very many people's lives.
Born in Sheffield in 1930, David Mellor trained originally as a silversmith. His Sheffield background gave him a particular affinity with metalwork. This developed onwards from his early years of making one-off pieces of specially commissioned silver, including table silver for British embassies, to the present relatively large scale operation. David Mellor's well known ranges of stainless steel and silver cutlery are now manufactured in his own purpose-built factory in Derbyshire.
David Mellor's concern with design in its broadest sense led to many important government commissions in the 1960s. He redesigned the national traffic light system. Mellor's design is still in use. He developed a controversial new square post box, and designed minimalist stainless steel cutlery produced in huge quantities for government canteens and NHS hospitals. In 1969 David Mellor opened the first of his shops, in Sloane Square in London. The David Mellor shops were soon internationally recognised and helped to establish new attitudes to retailing, from the point of view both of display and merchandise.
David Mellor's approach to design was always to some extent that of a craftsman, in his close involvement in materials and techniques and his insistence on the highest standards of environment and working conditions. All David Mellor buildings have been of special architectural merit. His original studio-workshop in Sheffield was designed in the 1960s by Patric Guest of Mayorcas & Guest and is now a listed building. In the 1970s David Mellor embarked on the restoration of a historic building, Broom Hall, in central Sheffield. The successful integration of the cutlery workshops received an Architectural Heritage Year Award.
The Round Building, David Mellor's cutlery factory in the Peak District National Park, was completed in 1990. Mellor collaborated with the architect Sir Michael Hopkins in evolving a design which is highly functional in a rural area of outstanding natural beauty. The Round Building has won numerous architectural awards.
The David Mellor Design Museum at Hathersage, opened in 2006 in another building purpose designed by Michael Hopkins. The David Mellor Design Museum covers the whole broad spectrum of David Mellor's work from tea spoons to traffic lights over the past half century. David Mellor retired in 2005 and passed away in 2009. His son Corin Mellor, an interior and product designer, is now Creative Director of the company.
David Mellor key designs
David Mellor short chronology
Born in Sheffield, 5 October 1930 - 7 May 2009
Trained at Sheffield College of Art; the Royal College of Art; the British School at Rome.
Set up silversmithing workshop in Sheffield; designer and maker of silver for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Cutlers' Company, Southwell Minster, Essex University, Darwin College, Cambridge. Other early commissions included a range of silver tableware for use in British Embassies, and a fountain in bronze for the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge.
Concurrently opened industrial design office. Consultancies, from 1954, included Walker & Hall, the Post Office, British Rail, Grahamston Ironfounders, James Neill Tools. Consultant to Department of Environment on design of traffic signals 1965-70. These are still in use.
'Pride' cutlery in silverplate included in first of the Design Centre Awards. Later Mellor won a further seven Design Centre Awards, including four for cutlery.
Commissioned first studio-workshop in Sheffield from Patric Guest of Gollins Melvin Ward. This is now a listed building.
Elected Royal Designer for Industry.
Opened first London shop, David Mellor, Sloane Square, selling professional range of kitchenware and tableware.
Set up workshops for specialist cutlery production in Broom Hall, Sheffield, a historic Sheffield building, the conservation of which received an Architectural Heritage Year Award.
Completed a new purpose designed cutlery factory, in collaboration with the architects Sir Michael Hopkins & Partners, at Hathersage in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire. The Round Building has won numerous architectural and environmental awards.
Major retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum, London and Sheffield City Art Galleries.
Opening of The David Mellor Design Museum at Hathersage, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins.
David Mellor was Chairman of the Crafts Council 1982-4 and a Trustee of the Victoria & Albert Museum 1983-8.
He holds Hon. Doctorates from the University of Sheffield, De Montfort University, Sheffield Hallam University, Loughborough University and the Royal College of Art.
He was married to Fiona MacCarthy, the biographer and cultural historian. Their son Corin Mellor (b.1966) is now Creative Director of David Mellor Design. Their daughter Clare (b.1970) has her own London based graphic design company.
Corin Mellor biography
Born in Sheffield in 1966, Corin is the son of renowned designer-silversmith David Mellor CBE and cultural historian Fiona MacCarthy OBE. He trained as a product designer at Kingston University and started his career working for the London architects YRM before joining his father as a designer-craftsman at his company, David Mellor Design.
Since taking over the reins as Creative Director in 2006, he has built on his father’s legacy by designing new ranges of cutlery and kitchen knives as well as developing and designing David Mellor products in completely new areas, like fine bone china tableware, glassware and wooden kitchen accessories. Beyond the products, he has drawn on his architectural background to create the shops themselves, designing the interior of the David Mellor Design Museum and Café at the site in Derbyshire, and the interiors for the new David Mellor shop in Marylebone, which opened in 2017.
As well as steering and expanding the repertoire of the family business, Corin has carried out a number of significant public and private design commissions:
- Public seating at the Lowry Gallery, Salford Quays and the Millennium Gallery and Winter Gardens, Sheffield
- Ecclesiastical silver for Sheffield cathedral
- A sterling silver collection for a Middle Eastern Royal Family
- Sculptural bench for the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth
- A 20 metre stainless steel and glass link bridge for Sheffield Hallam University
- Products for The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield
Corin is married to photographer and art director Helen Mellor. They live in Derbyshire, by the Design Museum and factory and spend their time between there and the two London shops.
Corin Mellor key designs
Corin Mellor short chronology
Born in Sheffield, 17 December 1966
Studied product and furniture design at Kingston University.
Joined the architectural interior design team at Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall, London.
Began working full time at David Mellor Design alongside his father on product design and shop development. Assisted with the planning and construction of the Round Building cutlery factory and the David Mellor Building at Butler's Wharf. Both Hopkins Architects buildings celebrated for their architectural excellence, the Butler's Wharf building is now Grade II listed.
Worked closely with his father to create ‘London’ and ‘Minimal’ cutlery as well as the Transit Trolley for Italian design firm Magis.
Succeeded his father to become Creative Director of David Mellor Design, taking over responsibilities for the firm's direction and new product development. Designed the interior of the David Mellor Design Museum and Café at Hathersage.
Appointed Freeman of Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
Commissioned to make a large-scale Advent Wreath for Sheffield Cathedral. Stainless steel candelabra developed using the same structure were shortlisted for the Blueprint Design Award. Created a series of sculptural knives for British artist Allen Jones RA. Concurrently expanded the company's range of in-house designs to include collections of David Mellor glassware and kitchen knives.
Appointed Freeman of Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Appointed Trustee of Museums Sheffield. Sculptural bench commission for the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth.
‘Chelsea’ cutlery introduced, Corin Mellor's first solo cutlery range. Produced a series of spectacular silver state gifts for a Middle Eastern Royal Family.
Appointed Guardian of Sheffield Assay Office. Awarded Hon. Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. Created a permanent ‘Street Scene’ exhibition of David Mellor's street furniture designs at the David Mellor Design Museum, Hathersage.
Designed a 20-metre bridge link for Sheffield Hallam University. Expanded the David Mellor Hathersage shop to include a new cutlery showroom.
Created the interiors for the new David Mellor shop in Marylebone, London, in a listed Arts & Crafts period building.
Presented ‘Made in Great Britain’ episode for the BBC.
Continues to steer the company in all aspects: design, manufacturing and retailing. Recent designs include the best-selling Rosewood kitchen knife range and his Stainless Steel Tableware range, winner of a 2021 Homes & Gardens Design Award.