Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Furniture designer and maker.
Hometown: Peckham, London.
Studio location: Woolwich, London.
Describe what you make: Our studio consists of a team of material-obsessed and detail-driven designers and makers with a firm ethos on working with UK-sourced materials. The expansion from traditional joinery workshop to merging digital manufacturing practices allows us to experiment on larger-scale, complex design projects.
Since I founded the studio, in 2015, we’ve realized ambitious projects for leading architectural practices and design studios. Our portfolio includes vanity stands for the recently opened Birch Hotel, furniture for zero-waste restaurant Silo, and furniture for Terence Conran’s restaurant Wilder. In 2020, we launched our first furniture collection, called Bowater, and are working on our second range, due to launch in September during the London Design Festival.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: In 2020, we designed our first full collection, Bowater. We wanted to create a collection that celebrated our natural homegrown materials, so all nine pieces are made exclusively with British timbers including cedar, douglas fir, and ash.
To create the collection we experimented with different techniques, merging digital processes with traditional hand-tooling—these processes underpin the philosophy of the studio and allow us to push the boundaries with the pieces we make. We also introduced a new material process using Thermo modification—a chemically-free heating procedure the timbers undergo, resulting in a new durable material. We also introduced a signature ripple throughout the collection, giving the pieces a playful detail that reflects the humorous personality of the studio.
Sustainability is hugely important to us, so we designed the pieces to optimize the wastage produced. We have used smaller offcuts to create a range or accessories that support the function of large pieces or work as decorative objects. For example, the Bowater Desk Tidies and Trays are designed to fit within the signature ripple detail and vary in shapes and sizes, working across the desk, chest of drawers, and side table as well as stand-alone decorative objects.
The collection is deeply rooted in London making and British manufacturing with some items taking their names from local landmarks. Bowater helps to define a new palette associated with British timber and thus furthers commitment to sustainability by sourcing within UK borders.
Describe the problem your work solves: Working bespoke we are constantly solving problems and figuring out the methods to create a piece. It’s the day-to-day technical resolve that enthuses me to create wondrous pieces. A balance between the technical and the aesthetic and using the tech to drive the aesthetics. Sculptural precision is how I describe our workshop.
On a bigger scale, we are working with as many local producers of timber to create pieces that best embody the ideas of working and producing furniture sustainably. We are fortunate that our workshop is within a few miles of central London, which also happens to be our biggest marketplace.
With certain projects we can utilize London felled trees within a 10-15 mile radius from our workshop and deliver our projects all within a similar distance. Our work aims to showcase the best of what it means to run a sustainably minded workshop. Any waste unsuitable for the studio is donated to People in Sheds, an organization that encourages older men and women to come together in a comfortable space and carry out activities that benefit the local community.
Describe the project you are working on now: We are working on a number of projects, including our second furniture collection launching at the London Design Festival in September. The new collection will include a range of dining tables, mirrors, and cabinetry that feature bevelled details, staved construction, and are all very sculptural. Starting on July 9, we’re exhibiting pieces from our Bowater collection at “Where Things Land Down,” an exhibition from new London-based arts platform Fels that features work from an amazing array of artists.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We are very excited to be working with garden designer Thomas Hoblyn and British jeweler Boodles on The Boodles Secret Garden for the Chelsea Flower Show in London, opening late September. We are creating a louvered oak wall that’ll encase the Secret Garden. To make the wall, we’re using consecutively cut oak logs, hand carved on one side. Following the planting of the garden, the outer wall remains simple and understated with a natural live edge, following the contours of the tree. Alongside more elaborate planting within the secret garden, the timber will be carved and patterned to expose the beauty and textures of the oak. We’re also working on a series of sculptural artworks that will be featured in a new hotel opening this fall in London.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: The team is like a family and we have a great atmosphere in the workshop. Lunch is a real occasion for us and we make sure we sit down to enjoy a meal together every day. We each take turns to cook up a feast for the rest of the team and when the weather is nice we’ll finish the meal with a cup of coffee out back. The absolute must have is music—my main rule is “never stop the music.”
What you do when you’re not working: I’m a bit of a cycling enthusiast and love to venture out for long rides outside of London. It’s the best way to explore and destress.
Sources of creative envy: Roberto Burle Marx. This man had fun.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Phone calls, emails, and meetings. We do complicated work and need focus.
Concrete or marble? Keep it natural.
High-rise or townhouse? Love a townhouse.
Remember or forget? Put it on the list.
Aliens or ghosts? Depends on how many drops of psilocybin you take.
Dark or light? I’m a south-facing kind of guy.