Design Philosophy at Northcote Furniture

“Sometimes a Chair is for sitting on. Sometimes you use it for hanging clothes on”

It starts with a question and a philosophy degree.

Before retraining as a furniture maker I studied politics and philosophy at university. Which means I can sometimes overthink things! So come with me as we take a look into the deisgn ideas behind Northcote Furniture.

Designing pieces of furniture for me always starts with a question: What is this for? Function is an incredibly important part of what furniture is. Without a function a piece of furniture is useless.

It starts to beome more complicated when we think about time. Using great materials and traditional joinery means making objects that have the potential to last a lifetime. However, over time our needs and desires change imensely and most us will move to different houses of differing shapes and sizes several times in our lives. As a furniture maker this means making sure that the pieces you craft can adaprt and be useful in different ways in different spaces.

The best example I can think of for this is a chair. Sometimes a chair is for sitting on. Sometimes you use it for hanging clothes on at night. Importantly it is up to whoever owns it to determine its function, so as a designer I try to give the pieces I make as many potential uses as possible.

Details, details, details.

In woodworking we use a lot of machinery. Machines are great – they allows us to work very accurately, very consistanly and to improve affordability. But undeniably, using hand tools whether chisels or hand planes imparts a certain character to the wood. It adds to the story of how it was made and gives the owner an insight into the craft. For me, it is important to always add a hand shapped surface to a piece. To add a piece of myself to the object. Often this is in the details such as the handles and drawer pulls. Or it can be used to create the whole piece – as I chose to do with the stick chair.

I have this thing with colour.

All of my pieces have an element of colour in them. From painted areas hidden behind doors to bold splashes on the outside face. Or a fabric covered backboard. I think it is a great opportunity to express your personality and a fun addition to a piece. But mainly, I really like the way it looks!

Make what you love.

Most importantly I love the pieces I design and make, and I want you to love them too. The best thing about making bespoke furniture is working with people to bring their ideas to life. The best thing about owning a piece of bespoke furniture is having something that you absolutely love.

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