Born in Hastings in 1957, Matthew Hilton studied fine art at Portsmouth College of Art before gaining a place on the prestigious furniture design course at Kingston Polytechnic. He graduated in 1979 and initially worked as an industrial designer for Capa, simultaneously producing set designs for seminal 80s London fashion label Culture Shock. Early adopters of Hilton's designs include Paul Smith and Joseph Ettedgui, both of whom sold his work in their London showrooms.
In 1984 Hilton established his own design studio and workshop, Matthew Hilton Design Studio. Two years later, his Bow shelves were launched by SCP at the Milan Furniture Fair and in 1991 he presented the curvaceous Balzac chair, a design which has become synonymous both with the decade and with Hilton himself.
In the decades following the launch of the Balzac, Hilton has continued to accumulate awards and plaudits in his work for SCP and other producers including Case, John Lewis and De La Espada. He won the Furniture for the Future schools' furniture design competition organised by the Design Council of Great Britain in 2001 and was subsequently commissioned to design a seating system for Channel Five news and a seating installation for the Tate Modern Turbine Hall to celebrate the rehanging of the permanent collection.
In 2007, Hilton launched his eponymous brand, Matthew Hilton Ltd, in partnership with renowned manufacturers De La Espada. Maintaining creative control over the design, manufacture and marketing of each product released under his name, Hilton continues to create rigourously functional products possessed of a signature sculptural quality.
Of his partnership with De La Espada, Hilton says: "I now have a place to fulfil my passion to create exquisitely made desirable, rigorous and beautiful products that I hope will stick around because they work and people love them."
Matthew Hilton was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in 2005. His work is held in the permanent collections of the V&A and the Geffrye Museum.
He is one of a select group of British designers who have been invited to contribute to twentytwentyone's celebration of the centenary of Robin Day's birth and his edition of Day's enduring classic, the Reclining chair, is available exclusively from twentytwentyone.