Habitat announces new head of product design as creative director exits

Polly Dickens is set to retire as creative director of Habitat at the end of January.

She will be succeeded by the homeware chain’s current senior design manager Kate Butler, who will take on the role of head of product design, overseeing product development of the Habitat design studio and its seasonal collections.

Kate has been with the Habitat brand since 2013 as part of its in-house design studio, which designs over 85% of exclusive Habitat product. She previously worked for Anthropologie and The Conran Shop.

Kate commented: “The Habitat design studio is an iconic institution, creating some of the UK’s most important interior designs and designers throughout its 50-year history.

“I’m thrilled to be continuing to evolve the studio’s creative output and championing the legacy that comes with it. Habitat was founded on the principles of bringing inspiring, forward thinking products to everyone and today we continue to do exactly that.

“We’ve seen our collection grow to over 4,500 products in the last five years, mixing traditional hand-crafts from around the globe alongside cool British design and technology, to create products that are unexpected, confident and designed with a sense of fun.

“It’s a genuinely exciting prospect of where we take the design studio next, working with our designers and emerging talent to ensure that stylistically we continue to stay ahead of an increasingly competitive market and build on our design authority within the industry.”

Polly reflected: “I count myself extremely lucky to have been given the once in a lifetime opportunity to take on such an extraordinary brand, with the remit of rebuilding it to the Habitat that everyone imagines and loves.

“This has been a wonderful six years and I’m so proud of our achievements. The design team has gone from strength to strength and between us, we have created a bold and recognisable handwriting, with a collection full of beautifully-made products that have real personality. “Working with craftsmen all over the world has always been a passion of mine and we’ve been able to include elements of this kind of work right across the range. It’s brilliant that a high street brand can offer things like this that are truly unique and really do showcase hand-craft and artistry.

“Now though, after over 30 years in the industry, I’ve decided that it’s my time to have another kind of life and I’m looking forward to travelling with my husband and watching the design studio flourish under Kate’s leadership.”

Habitat managing director Clare Askem noted: “Polly has been fundamental in reimagining the output of our design studio for today’s Habitat customer.

“Never one to shy away from statement design and brave pattern, she has reinjected the creative spirit back into Habitat and has been responsible now for 10 seasonal collections that have gone from strength to strength.

“Polly leaves behind her a Habitat that has evolved radically from 2012 to a much stronger, identifiable brand that is seeing great success and growth.

“Her continued passion and enthusiasm for the interiors industry has been hugely inspiring for our whole team and I have no doubt that our design studio – led by Kate – will continue to champion that spirit, pushing design boundaries and leading the way in shaping modern interiors.”

Habitat operates three London flagship stores, 10 Mini Habitat stores and 2 stand-alone stores across the UK as has an online presence at www.habitat.co.uk. Its products are also available at over 2,300 Click & Collect points throughout the UK. Habitat is part of the Sainsbury’s Group.


Polly Dickens, outgoing creative director (left) and Kate Butler, head of product design (right)

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