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Jon Catling

Edinburgh, Scotland

Designer (Product Design)

Member since February 12, 2008

Jon’s background is that primarily of a sculptor, with a distinctly mechanical engineering flavour including welding and fabrication skills. He is a keen medium distance cyclist, with engineering influences gained in previous employment as an electronic test engineer, quality control technician and aircraft-frame tool-printer.

Jon started 'regular' work in audio electronics. He became a repair and test engineer for HH Electronics. [1979 – 1982] After HH liquefied, he spent four years in the aircraft industry, working for Marshalls in Cambridge [1982 – 1986] who specialise in high quality or high complexity aircraft customisation and conversion. Jon was eventually responsible for direct CAD to metal component drawing (on a very large plotter). This change to the production process lead to a very large saving in time particularly for the toolmakers and a reduction in failures. After a brief spell managing an art gallery near Cambridge [1986 – 1987] he returned to electronics by working via an agency in Cambridge [1987 – 1990] and took on all varieties of contract work including a move to Phillips working with early versions of what we now know as mobile ‘phones. He has completed several successful house extension projects as project manager, material buyer, designer, builder and garden design.

During this time Jon had been taking more and more trips to Skye whilst working in Cambridge, and when, for the most part, good contract work dried up in Cambridge, and after a couple of years as a self-employed builder [1990 – 1993] Harbouring a love of the outdoor life, and a good sweat, he decided to give island life a try and ended up working for a company called Pathcraft as part of a team constructing stone pathways [1994 – 1995] - part way up the Cuillin at Corrie Laggan - to control erosion from walkers. He continued to sculpt whilst on the island, often using composite materials such as a blend of local scrap metal with the more ‘conventional’ use of clay in figurative work, thus introducing an ‘industrial’ influence into his work.

The peaceful surroundings and long winters provided an environment conducive to thought and visualisation - Jon turned his creative attention to his long-term favourite form of transport and fun - the bicycle - attempting to regard its function with an open mind.

In order to approach what he considered the main drawback of cycles, lack of comfort, he tried very many possible arrangements including a recumbent, before hitting on a configuration that has been refined into the existing design. Once tested it looked like a genuine solution to this design shortfall. This led to the filing of a patent and initiation of a limited company - Manta Design - to administrate the promotional process, eventually leading to the current business plan.

A bicycle saddle correctly engineered for the human body

Contact Jon Catling

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design