“David is one of the UK’s most respected designers. Trained in Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art, his designs are timeless and his passion is to create furniture that addresses real issues for the future. His furniture has won many awards and appears in permanent and private collections across Europe and America, including London’s V&A Museum and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.”
Making a chair comfortable is central to all my designs. Comfort and good posture are much the same thing. Generous lumbar support and very little contact for the lower back prove remarkably effective and provide solutions for users with a range of seating requirements.
All my designs have flexible structures, essential as flexible chairs make for flexible people! Not only do they yield to your body, but also encourage your movement, which in turn reduces pressure points and again leads to greater comfort.
Being able to get your feet back under the seat makes getting in and out of a chair much easier, as well as making for a comfortable forward sitting posture. To this end they all avoid the need for a front rail.
Lightweight chairs make it much easier to move towards or away from a table as well as using less material.
A chair has to support a dynamic load many times its own weight. These chairs are designed as fully triangulated structures where all the joints can be pivots; the strength is in the geometry, not in a massive structure. However to overcome the stiffness of triangulation, one or more sides of the triangles are curved and thus allow flexibility which in turn makes the structure stronger, lighter and more comfortable.
When looking for appropriate materials, wood stands head and shoulders above other structural materials. Merely growing it has environmental benefits. Of hardwoods, Ash stands out above all others. It is the toughest, and remarkably, is strongest when fast grown. It is self seeding. It has no sap wood so less wastage in conversion. It, together with Douglas Fir, absorbs more atmospheric carbons than any other tree. It grows particularly well in UK. It is excellent for steam bending. It is plentiful and not too expensive. The best fast grown material usually comes from young trees, this is particularly useful to timber growers as they are frequently forest thinnings, giving a return in a shorter time than the traditional main crop.
Steam bending is one of those activities where fast work is better than slow, it is very efficient and enjoyable but not fool proof, making it a very good use of a craftsman’s time. It also seasons the wood at the same time as it is bent, using a fraction of the energy required in conventional kiln drying.
Because the timber is worked “green” (unseasoned) it can be sourced directly from the forester who can select the right pieces, which frequently would have no other market.
Wood Award Innovation Prize. Achair, 2010
Creative Wales Award, 2009/2010
Silver Medal & 3D Design Awards, Royal College of Art
Public seating Award, Sit 94: National Museum of Wales (Museum of the Year 1995)
FX Green Seating Award: C3 Stacking Chair
4 Guild Mark, Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers: C1 Upholstered Recliner and Footstool, C3 Stacking Chair, Ash Round Tables, T2 Extending Table
Crafts Council Index, Southern Arts, AXIS, Commissions East, SW Arts, Public arts
Modern British Furniture. Lesley Jackson, V&A publication (2013)
Modelo Museum of Science and Industry, Toluca, Mexico: C3 Stacking Chair
Rhode Island School of Design Collection, USA: Contour Chair
Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA: Contour Chair
Vitra Design Museum, Germany: Contour Chair
Victoria And Albert Museum, London: C1 Recliner & Footstool, C3 Stacking Chair, Contour Chair
Victor Papanek’s Private Collection, USA: C2 Director’s Chair
Design Museum, London: Contour Chair
Crafts Council Collection, London: C3 Stacking Chairs
John Makepeace OBE private collection, UK: C1 Rattan Recliner & Footstool
Temple Newsam House, Leeds City Musuem: C1 Rattan Recliner & Footstool
Design Centre Index, London: C1 Reclining Chair, C2 Director’s Chair, C3 Stacking Chair
The Science Museum, London: C3 Stacking Chair
Exhibitions and Events:
2019. Artist in residence, School for Furniture Craftsmanship. Maine, USA
2018. British Library Interview.
2016 / 17. Sri Lanka, Investigating uses of Cinnamon wood as a by-product of cinnamon production.
2015. Design and arrange manufacture of Worcester Collage, Oxford. Lecture Theatre Seating
2014. Tales from the Wildwood, TV nature series. Rob Penn
2014. As William Morris Said, Ruthin Craft Centre.
2013. Making Chairs, one man show, Craft Study Centre and Ruthin Crafts Centre.
2012. Visiting professor. California Collage of Art, San Francisco.
2009. Soho Green Table and Seating
2007. Ludlow Food Centre Interior
2007. Visiting teacher of chair making, School for Furniture Craftsmanship. Maine, USA.
2004. Opening of Scottish Parliament
2004. ’Collect’ Crafts Council Exhibition at the V&A Museum
2003. Design and making of Scottish Parliament Reception Desk
2003. ’Classics’ Brussels
1995-2003. ’100% Design’
2003. ’To Have and To Hold’ Ferrers Gallery
1998/1999/ 2003. ’Art In Action’ Oxford
2003. ’International Festival of Gardens’ Westonbirt Arboretum
1997/1998/ 2002/2003. ‘House & Garden’
2003. ’Take A Seat’ Bluecoat Display Center
2003. ’Table Wares’ Beatrice Royal Gallery
2002. ’Sustainable Designs’ Johannesburg World Summit
1997/1998/2002. ‘Artisan’ Edinburgh Festival
2002. ’Take a Seat’ Grace Barrand Design Studio
2002. ’In Praise or Trees’ with English Nature, Salisbury Festival
2002.’Wood x 10′ Scottish Gallery
2000/2001/2002/2003. ’Homelodge Show House’, Ideal Home Exhibition
1999/2000/2002. ’Ergonomic Chairs’ Science Museum Touring Exhibition, London 1999, Manchester 2000, Portugal 2002
2002. ’Solo’ Artifex Gallery
2001/2002. ’Rufford Gallery’ Nottingham
2001/2002. ‘Brewery Arts’ Cirencester
1990/2001. ’Chelsea Crafts Fair’
2001. ’Designer’s Block’ London
2001. ’Green Design’ Bledffa
2000. ’Wind & Wave’ Beatrice Royal Gallery
2000. ’Guild Mark Exhibition’ Pallant House Gallery
1994-96/ 1998-99/ 2000.’Country Living Spring Fair’
1998. ’Guild Mark Exhibition’
1995-96/ 1999. ’A Celebration of Craftsmanship’ Betty Norbury
1995. ’International Contemporary Furniture Fair’ New York
1992-96. ’Decorative Arts Today’ Bonhams 1995. ’Greenwood’ Contemporary Applied Arts
1994. ’Conservation by Design’ RISD Museum of Modern Art, USA
1992. ’Christmas Show’ Oriel Moystn
1992. ’Living Room’ Oxford Gallery
1992. ’Having Made It’ Oriel
1992. ‘Exempla 92’ Munich
1992. ‘Chair Gallery’ Design Museum
1991-92. ’Beyond The Dovetail’ Crafts Council
1990. ’In the First Place’ Aberystwyth Arts Centre
1988. ’Furniture Focus’ Northern Centre for Contemporary Art
1983. ’Recent Work’ Leeds Craft Centre and Design Gallery
1983. ’Recent Work’ (Solo) Prescote Gallery
1982. ’The Maker’s Eye’ Crafts Council
1981. ’The Wood Exhibition’ Northern Arts
1981. ’Prescote in London’ Warwick Arts Trust
1980. ’Furniture Projects’ Crafts Council
1980. ’Crafts Council 80′
1978-84. ‘Furniture Makers’ Prescote Gallery
1971. ‘Chairs’ Victoria and Albert Museum
1970. ‘Whitechapel Chairs 70’
1967. ‘Perspex 67’ Royal College of Art