furniture

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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The Chairs Of Denmark

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We always try and check out the local culture when we reach a new destination. So when we entered Copenhagen in the summer we were excited to hear that they were exhibiting a show on the progression of the Danish Chair and it’s wider influence on international design. Some of Denmark’s finest seats were displayed in this show and we’d like to show you some of our favourites made out of wood or otherwise.

 
Classic chrome plated steel and wood gratin chair by Marcel Breuer. This chair made him famous at the Bauhaus and has since become a design classic. 

Classic chrome plated steel and wood gratin chair by Marcel Breuer. This chair made him famous at the Bauhaus and has since become a design classic. 

 
 

Mid century Danish furniture is all the rage in old Blighty but design thinking is deeply established in Denmark’s culture for many generations. This country is full of artisanal designer/makers who come from a rich history of furniture makers. They have established a style based on sleek shapes that borrow from Asian art and architecture.  The smooth elegant forms of the 1960s still look contemporary now with many of the manufacturing techniques also widely used. It safe to say that Danish Scandinavian style is omnipresent in all aspects of design. Simplicity and quality is the key.

 
You’ve probably all seen this one before but have you touched one?  The infamous Panton Chair from Verner Panton is a sexy thing, moulded plastic with the highest gloss. 

You’ve probably all seen this one before but have you touched one?  The infamous Panton Chair from Verner Panton is a sexy thing, moulded plastic with the highest gloss. 

 
"THE CHAIR IS THE PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT IS CLOSEST TO HUMAN BEINGS. YOU CAN GIVE IT THE PERSONAL TOUCH."
Hans J. Wegner
 
A chair from the 1980s Memphis group who sought to kill off mass production through an artisanal approach to design. Their stuff is pretty crazy!

A chair from the 1980s Memphis group who sought to kill off mass production through an artisanal approach to design. Their stuff is pretty crazy!

 

For those of you that have ever tried to make a chair will know it’s a tough job balancing the simple finesse of a strong structure against the ergonomic qualities that make it comfortable. Mark made a chair out of an old door found in the street, it looks ok but isn’t the most comfortable object out there (you can see Mark’s chair at the bottom of the post). Seeing all the different techniques and styles in this show was inspiring. We definitely want to make a chair when we get home, as intimidating as it is.

 
The incredible shapes are made from steam twisting ply veneers that are later laminated into the twisting shape. An interesting use of a widely available sheet wood.

The incredible shapes are made from steam twisting ply veneers that are later laminated into the twisting shape. An interesting use of a widely available sheet wood.

 

We learnt about a few designers we’d never heard of before. In Denmark, their most famous chair designer is a chap called Hans J. Wegner who had around 20 chairs in the show. His first chairs were created in the 1940s but he continued to develop his practice all the way through to the 60s. Much to Mark’s liking his chairs are all made from wood and are beautifully crafted.

 
This one is pretty sleek and slender, the work of designer Jorgen Gammelgaard, a simple black shape made from lines, named Chair no.10.

This one is pretty sleek and slender, the work of designer Jorgen Gammelgaard, a simple black shape made from lines, named Chair no.10.

 
 
 
The Seagull by Arne Jacobsen, i'm sure you can see how it got its name.

The Seagull by Arne Jacobsen, i'm sure you can see how it got its name.

 

Most of the show was filled with Scandinavian designers but prestige is also placed on the America couple Charles and Ray Eames for their pioneering working with plywood. They started by created lightweight leg casts for injured solders during the war but went on to develop the process into high end furniture, which is still manufactured now. Other classics are in the show like Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Chair made for the Spanish monarchy of the 1930s. A chair you will find throughout the offices of the corporate world, not a humble chair but certainly a nice looking one.

Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Chair

Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Chair

 
 
The classic, steamboat plywood chair on a steel frame. We've all sat in one and they are comfortable. 

The classic, steamboat plywood chair on a steel frame. We've all sat in one and they are comfortable. 

 

The Copenhagen Design Museum is a must-see if you're in the city. Not only does it do a fantastic job of showing how specialist the Danish craft is but explains just how deeply design is embedded in their way of life. A good example is cycling, many Danes cycle through the city and so their transport system is adapted to this need having bike parks on their trains. A simple yet intuitive solution that makes travel more efficient for its people. Everyday products are developed continuously to be as inclusive and beautiful and as they can. It was fantastic to see how everyday kitchen appliances are still perfected now. A city of problem solvers all trying to make the world a bit better. 

It's great seeing examples of the development models from card and foam, all designers go through this development process

It's great seeing examples of the development models from card and foam, all designers go through this development process

 
 
Marks recycled door chair from 2011. Still works but not the most comfortable!

Marks recycled door chair from 2011. Still works but not the most comfortable!

 

This show is still on now, as of December 2017, here is the link if you want to find out more :

 https://designmuseum.dk/en/exhibition/the-danish-chair-an-international-affair/

 

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The Chairs Of Denmark, by Studio Mali
 

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