We are very excited that the Maker’s Eye / St Hugh’s College project we were so deeply involved with earlier this year has been shortlisted in the Bespoke Furniture category in this years Wood Awards, the ‘Wood Oscars’. The aim of the Wood Awards is to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood in building or furniture project with the UK.
The project is a great story in itself, one of collaboration and making the most of a number of very experienced designers with the specialist workshop facilities. Maker’s Eye won the job against stiff competition because they were able to design a bespoke range of very cost effective furniture specifically for the new Dickson Poon China Centre at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. This comprised of desks and shelves for the students rooms, as well as academics desks, folding tables and occasional furniture for other spaces within the new build project, designed by David Morley Architects.
We were involved in the design of all the pieces but in particular the signature piece of the collection – the 2 drawer desk. In the end we made 63 of these desks and 12 similarly detailed folding tables, all in solid European oak. While the desk is clearly the star piece, we are also particularly proud of the folding tables and the engineering solutions on the folding leg frames. There is nothing else like it on the market – solid oak with no locking brace to interfere with leg space. Having used one here in the office we can vouch for how solid they are to work on.
Together, Maker’s Eye and the 4 workshops involved – us, Matthew Burt, Waywood and Timothy Hawkins, all shared ideas and expertise to deliver the project to the highest standards in an extremely tight timeframe, on time and on budget. It’s an exciting model with huge potential – through Makers Eye we can now take on much larger projects for architects, main contractors and institutions.
The cherry on the cake for all of us is being shortlisted for the Wood Awards 2014. The desk and hopefully other elements of the project will be on the Wood Awards stand at 100% Design in London from 17-20 September.
We are up against some stiff competition with the other 3 very good entries in the category, but I hope that back story of collaboration and collective expertise helps win the day. Of course they are also strikingly beautiful pieces of furniture; quintessentially English as you would expect for something made for an Oxford College, yet with a hint of oriental design that befits this project.
We are really proud of our involvement in this project and the design work that we put in with Tony Portus of Maker’s Eye. We’d like to thank Tony Portus and Ross Fenn at Maker’s Eye for having the vision to secure this most prestigious of projects and of course for entering the Wood Awards.
There is a more detailed run down of all the 30 shortlisted architectural and furniture projects, including a slideshow, on the RIBA Journal site.