Wednesday, May 02
Formulaic Furniture - Woodware
BY LAURA HOUSELEY
Woodware is all about the process of making, about creating systems in manufacture and organising production. This simply beautiful collection of furniture by London-based designer Max Lamb is as much a comment on production as it is on function. Each item is made entirely from standard sized dowels and, in turn, each size of dowel appears in a different hardwood; ash, maple, walnut, lime, beech, cherry, tulip, sapele and oak.
The Woodware collection is a progression in the history of furniture making in England: The timbers are traditional, if used unconventionally, and the system of construction has a formulaic clarity that enables Lamb to produce the pieces himself in his studio or outsource them to other artisans without difficulty should necessity demand. The chair designs are vaguely reminiscent of traditional chair styles such as the ladder-back or spindle-back, whose forms, it pays to remember, were equally engineered for efficient artisan production.
Lamb intends Woodware to be affordable, functional and, ultimately, producible. By adopting iconic potter Bernard Leach’s attitude to making (whose famous Standard Ware pots were made in quantity yet not mass-produced), Lamb limits the production of the collection so that the pieces retain the quality of hand-making yet are more of a commercial prospect than craft designs. It’s a great ambition beautifully fulfilled.