After many experiments and prototypes, the final designs have a modernist styling with very simple lines and jointing to illustrate the visual versatility of London Plane and power of the Lacewood grain figure. After making reproductions and reinterpretations of early 20th century furniture including Gerard Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair along with research on the American Arts & Crafts Movement and European Modernism, I realised that designing furniture with stylistic restriction was the appropriate way to showcase both traditional hand tool methods and the visual qualities of London Plane, and Lacewood in particular.
The London Plane Project is a comprehensive exploration of one material - the timber of the London Plane tree. Restricting my palate to this one tree species, I have designed and made a small collection of wild craft furniture with modernist stylings.
In the last two years I have become fascinated by this ubiquitous London tree, sucking up our pollution and dulling the noise – doing everything for us when alive but as a furniture timber it remains underused. Between the commission furniture that accounts for the majority of my practice, I have taken the opportunity to comprehensively explore this specific tree species to discover its versatilities and possibilities and have a lot of fun doing it.
My first major work using London Plane was a timber re-use commission for a large residential developer in 2016, making furniture pieces from timber felled on site. Since then I have explored the material; the young pale tones and the old tea orange brown and everything in between, applying different techniques to produce a variety of tones, textures and forms. I have steam-bent it, laminated it, burnt it, ebonised it, bleached it, carved it, gouged it, scraped it, wire-brushed it, made dovetail joints, fox tenons, finger joints and lap joints and dowels.
Along with an illustration of the processes and techniques, the final collection of tables, seating and objects will be displayed at the London Design Fair in September 2019.