O range marks both a dramatic advance in construction and has refreshing, edgy good looks that are now. Its most obvious feature is the tubular rivets, not just a pretty detail, they are many times stronger than conventional timber jointing and are particularly well suited to steam bending and the flexible structures that makes the designs so strong and comfortable.
Less obvious is the woods subtle texture. By taking a radical look at the latest sawing technology, the most energy intensive, noisy, dusty and boring bits of the making process have been removed, saving about 70% on energy and retaining the rewards of craftsmanship.
O range builds on over 30 years experience of sustainable design. It takes the environmental and structural benefits of steam bent ash and removes the limitations of conventional woodwork. Remarkably, ash, amongst the toughest of woods, is strongest when fast grown and absorbs more atmospheric carbon than any other trees.
I started Trannon in 1979 in a closed school in Mid Wales where it stayed for 10 years. The language of the Trannon range happened in this period, C1, C2, C3, etc and the TR tables. We also did commissioned work like gallery seating at The Museum of Wales.
I teamed up with two of my ex students from Hooke Park, Richard Foyle and Roy Tam. As craft based workshops go we were very successful and didn’t compromise our core principals. The range increased largely through specific projects. As well as the private customers, we sold to corporate and public sector specifiers.
When renewing the lease came up, I felt sure that there was a better way of doing things and finally, I was more interested in design than business.
“Good chairs have more in common with a good pair of shoes than with other items of furniture. Flexible support encourages freedom of movement, which is key to comfort and good posture.”
“Tables should have legs that don’t get in the way. Solid hardwood table tops give pleasure over generations. Glass tops show off our dramatic structures and occupy very little visual space.”
I designed the Contour Chair in my final year at the RCA, but the technique was developed the previous year for an exhibition in collaboration with ICI plastics division.
It won me the RCA silver medal and shortly afterwards was selected for a V&A Modern Chairs exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1970. Two of them were bought for the V&A’s permanent collection.