there already too many objects in the world?
- This is the first question most designers
ask themselves when considering their trade. Will I be making
something helpful, or just adding to the pile of crap discarded
by our consumer society?
- I believe that if an object is beautiful,
serves its function well, does no harm, and can be produced in
a sustainable way, it deserves to exist.
- In my opinion, good design creates beautiful
objects. I don't belief the Modernist mantra that 'form should
follow function.' I enjoy decoration. The decorative elements
of my designs don't necessarily emerge from the function of each
piece. Or perhaps they do, because for me, pleasing the senses
is an important function of any object.
- All the same, I strive to harmonize form
and function. Whether I begin sketching with a specific purpose
for the piece in mind, or only thinking of an interesting shape
I wish to explore, by the time I have final drawings for the
piece, I will have (I hope) designed an object that is aesthetically
and functionally beautiful.
- It's also very important to me that design
be responsible. Good design addresses more than form and function.
It addresses the object's function within society. How was it
made? What purpose will it serve? How soon will it be discarded?
designers responsible for the effects of the products they design?
- Of course they are. Like any person, a
designer is responsible for their actions. A good designer will
consider all aspects of the things they conceive: the resources
used & waste produced in manufacturing the product; the working
conditions of the people producing the product; the effects of
the use of the product; the waste produced disposing of the product,
- I try to be a responsible designer and
maker. Because I work in wood, I enjoy a much more direct relationship
with my pieces than someone designing for industrial manufacture.
I make sure my lumber comes from sustainable sources. As a self-employed
craftsperson, I control my own working conditions. And my pieces
are made to last for generations.
design sell itself?
- Yes. Good design has intrinsic appeal.
People don't have to be taught to appreciate its value. Education
in design can help people better express why they are drawn to
this or that object. But even without a hoity-toity design vocabulary,
people know what they like.
design have to be elitist?
- These days, design is marketed like high
fashion. It is used to enhance the mystique of expensive, high-end
products. But this is just a gloss on the true nature of design.
All objects are designed. The paper cup you buy your coffee in
is as carefully designed as the latest sports car.
- My pieces are more like sports cars than
paper cups, but they are meant to be enjoyed by all. Because
my pieces are handcrafted, they can be relatively expensive and
this can put them out of reach for some. Is handcrafted furniture
worth the price? I think so.
room for craft in today's world of mass production?
- Definitely. Mass produced doesn't mean
poorly designed. Many of my favourite designs are made in the
hundreds of thousands. But mass produced items can be impersonal.
- Handcrafted designs are one-of-a-kind.
They possess warmth thanks to the human touch of their makers.
Most importantly, they can be tailored to the buyer's wishes.
For more on this topic, see Is Handcrafted
Furniture Worth the Price?
design help a troubled world?
- There are so many things that need doing
to make a better world. How does making furniture help slow the
extinction of species, loss of wilderness, or global climate
change? How does it increase tolerance of difference, equity
between rich and poor, or trust between the sexes? I'm not sure.
But I hope the beauty of my work nourishes people, so they can
better tackle these problems.
and will it ever end?
- Furniture reveals a lot about society.
It is more personal than architecture, and more permanent than
fashion. What does today's furniture say about us, sipping espresso
while sitting on contemporary stools, at modern tables, in post-modern
buildings, at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Only
time will tell. In the meantime, I hope you like my work!