Marquetry

Commissions: A Bespoke Backgammon Game With A Contemporary Spin

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Entering a new realm of product this month…. board games. Mark and I have chatted before about making kids toys from plywood such as puzzles and cut out shapes, but until now games for adults hadn’t really been on the cards (excuse the pun!).

Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.

It all started when we met a friendly chap called Chris at Netil Market in London Fields back in April. He spotted our products and was keen to see if we could make his vision of a contemporary backgammon set a reality. With a background in architecture and surveying, Chris sent over some detailed 3D sketches of the board game complete with measurements so we had something solid to work from.

Chris’s sketch

Chris’s sketch

We chatted the design through and made some minor adjustments to the spec based on the thickness of the plywood, then used CAD to sketch up the final drawing ready for laser cutting. Chris selected the colours from some swatches of painted plywood, and we love his final selection of the grey contrasted with the luders green!

Colour options for Chris to choose from

Colour options for Chris to choose from

A CAD of the disc counters

A CAD of the disc counters

The next part was the fun bit, making it. Mark laser cut all of the pieces from plywood and together we sanded off the burnt edges and glued them in several stages for the construction.

Once the frame was constructed, more sanding has to be done to ensure the box was beautifully smooth and that all of the edges alined. I hand-sprayed the colour onto the marquetry pieces using an airbrush and watered down paint, and once dry I applied a layer of varnish before inserting and gluing to the board.

Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.

The round discs ended up taking about a day to make, mostly because there were so many of them and each had to undergo a number of processes from hand-sanding to spraying on colour, and gluing to varnishing. They were really satisfying to make though and look really neat!

Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.

Once the box was fully constructed and all of the marquetry inserted, the next step was to varnish the entire thing, twice. A light sand was done in-between each layer to make sure it has that super smooth finish.

Et voila! Our first ever board game commissioned by Chris.

A big thank you to Chris for giving us the opportunity to make something as unique as this for him. We hope he gets many hours of enjoyment out of playing this game… what a special piece to own.

Here it is in it’s full glory….

Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
Bespoke Backgammon Game by Studio Mali.  Made In London.
We were attracted to the Studio Mali stall at Netil Market on a sunny Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago by their simple yet beautifully designed place mats and coasters. We had a chat with delightful Mark who explained a bit about Studio Mali and how they make their designs. We also asked about Commissions. We went home and pondered and discussed and got in touch with Mark by email and that was the birth of a bespoke Backgammon set. We collected the Backgammon set and the placemats and coasters from Mark and Ali a couple of weeks later and they are even more beautiful than we could have hoped for. It is such a joy to have things in your home which are beautiful and useful and made with such love and passion. Thank you Mark and Ali so much for making and designing these oh so special pieces for us. We feel some more Commissions coming on!
— Chris and Julie Ttoffali

If there’s something that you would like us to work on, a bespoke piece that you can’t find elsewhere, then why not get in contact. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, an item of jewellery or something special for your home, we may be able to make your dream a reality. Just send us an email on studiomalihey@gmail.com with some information about your project and we will get back to you shortly.

You can also check out our commissions page to see what else we’ve been working on….


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Commissions - A Bespoke Backgammon Game With A Contemporary Spin
 

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Design: Charles Dedman, Master Of Marquetry

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We carefully select the products and designers that we love, and this chap is one of our favourites. Today, the spotlight shines on the incredibly talented Charles Dedman. A designer who shows great mastery of both traditional hands-on manufacturing, that blends perfectly with computer aided (CNC) wizardry.

 

Whilst on a school trip in 2016, I met Charles and my eyes first gazed on the stunning marquetry of his Zapotec Cabinet. From that point, I would always keep an on eye on his achievements, and in the years since, he has climbed right to the top of the contemporary design ladder. Mr Dedman is definitely one to watch.

 

Zapotec Cabinet

Zapotec Cabinet

Zapotec Cabinet

I was lucky enough to meet Charles and see the Zapotec in the flesh whilst on a school trip to the New Designers exhibition at the Business Design Centre a few years back. I was blown away by the considered geometry of the laser cut veneers and the hands-on precision with which they had been put together, the perfect modern day marquetry. Using CNC certainly makes the preparation easier, but the overall balance of complex shapes and negative space is very pleasing on the eye. I can say from my own experience of marquetry that piecing together complex veneers is a tricky and time consuming process. 

 

Turner Chair

Turner Chair

Turner Chair

Following Charles on Instagram is real joy, especially if you’re interested in seeing behind the scenes into how his objects are made. He does an excellent job of breaking down the making process so it is easier to understand. You will see that he has had great, and well deserved, success for the innovative dowelled Turner Chair. Prototyped in the studio, now the chair is batch manufactured by an external company but the process is still very hands on. Check out his Instagram feed for a closer look at how they are made, or just marvel at the product in general.

Instagram: @charlesdedman

 

His & Hers Side Table

 
His & Hers Side Tables

His & Hers Side Tables

 

Dedman has undertaken an array of different jobs and commissions like these angled side tables made from rich walnut and ash wood. They come as one overall table or can be split between a husband and wife, or even twins, as two individual side tables next to a bed. What a cool and considered idea.

 

Designer / Maker

Moving from designer/ maker to a designer is a tough step for person who loves their craft. After years of building up the skills to make objects by hand, the objects that'll make your name, to build a brand you'll inevitably hand over construction to a company or computer process. Being able to scale up the manufacturing of a product is key to any businesses growth. Dedman documents this transition well, learning and understanding that to be commercial a certain amount of outsourcing is key, otherwise the designer would never have the time to dream up their next big thing. Facing the honest reality of building a brand in an increasingly competitive and commercial design sector must rely on modern tools. Craft isn't dead but it's a shrinking part of the design process.

 

Criss-Cross Table

 
Criss-Cross Table

Criss-Cross Table

 

A nice example of complex geometry that balances precision-angled walnut with the airy balance of a marble disc that rests on the top. The combination of solid structure below and delicately textured marble is a real pleasure for the eyes.

 

Buffet Desk

Buffet Desk

Buffet Desk

A great example of form following function, a study desk with storage sections built into the table allowing a quick swap between the full flat table and easy-to-access storage. You'll see a sneaky cable climbing up one of the legs, this is a small built-in light box for those pencil tracers. The wooden top is held together by folded steel legs that add a little industrial charm to the otherwise warm and woody finish. 

 

Montado Stool

Montado Stool

Montado Stool

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So named after a Portuguese forest where the cork is grown, the Montado is the perfect combination of sustainability and function. The piece utilises the playful, warm qualities of cork with the utilitarian function of plywood. Together, they form a simple high performance stool that looks great and can easily support a dude doing a handstand. Bravo!

 

If you didn't know Dedman, I'm sure you'll agree he is one to watch. I have been really inspired by Dedman as I share an infinity for good materials that have been processed with skill and attention to detail. His balance of craft and computer is the perfect template for a modern design brand and Ali and I will definite look to Dedman when we start to build our own company. If you'd like to find out more about is projects then head over to his website and social media. Budding designers should definitely take a gander at his Instagram page to. 

Twitter: @CharlesDedman

Instagram: @charlesdedman

web:https://www.charlesdedman.co.uk/

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