Mark Daniel Design Director


My educational background is in Architecture.  I studied at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and the Ecole d’Architecture-Tolbiac (a satellite school of the Ecole des Beaux Arts) in Paris, and have a BS in Architecture.  It was in Paris that I began to get interested in furniture and product design. I learned to appreciate that what goes into a space defines it as much as the walls that enclose that space.  The scale of furniture in particular was appealing, as the design integrity of a piece could be maintained more successfully than in the design evolution of a building.


Based in Chicago since1993, I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent my career designing for some of the biggest names in US retail, like Crate and Barrel, CB2, DWR, etc.  In 2002, I created a product design firm called Slate Design Ltd.   We have an extensive portfolio of work, ranging from soup bowls to bedroom furniture.  We have experience in a variety of materials as well, with product manufactured in veneered and solid wood, stainless steel, ceramics and blown glass.  In each case, we spend time at the factories in the US, Europe and Asia to make sure all of our designs are developed to our own high standards.


While that was great for paying the bills, it didn’t really satisfy my creative or artistic drive.  At the end of the day I was designing for other people’s wants.  It was while on a visit to China that I met Matt Cole and Dan Given, who were managing the production of some of my designs for a US retailer.  We became fast friends, and continued working on design and development with each other over the next few years.


10 years ago, Matt and Dan came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse - an almost limitless palette of materials to work from, involvement in the process from sketch to production, and being my own client. They had just started a company called m.a.d. furniture design, and were looking to create original, high quality and well priced seating.  Lots of people were doing chairs, but it was a race to the bottom in terms of reproductions and copies.  Matt and Dan have worked and lived in China for the past 10+ years, and in that time had developed a high quality supply chain.  We thought why not tap into that resource, design our own seating, and offer it to the export market?  In 2011 I was made Creative Director of m.a.d., and my design team and I have since designed the majority of the seating, tables, storage and lighting for the collection.


Simple and elegant, pure geometry and elemental forms define the style of our work. 

Visually light but structurally strong, our furniture is designed and built to last physically as well as stylistically.  We’re inspired by classic modern design of the 20th century, where the materials and structure generate the aesthetic of the design. 

Although simple is one of our defining terms, it is actually not so simple to do.  We go to great lengths to hide hardware, refine proportions, and create seating that not only looks great, but sits comfortably.  All of this with the intention of making original, affordable design accessible to more people. 


In the past 10 years we’ve grown our customer base, now shipping to over 20 countries.  We’re proud to be used in homes, offices, restaurants and co-working spaces worldwide.