Douglas Pulman 16.09.14

  • Pulman’s Brace range includes a shelving unit, bench and side table

  • The bracket grips the horizontal and vertical members using the tension in the 5mm steel wire

It began with the development of a simple wire bracket. Now Pulman has created a whole range of industrial-style furniture – and carried off the New Designers Award at 100% Design

It began with the development of a simple wire bracket. Now Pulman has created a whole range of industrial-style furniture – and carried off the New Designers Award at 100% Design

Plymouth University graduate Douglas Pulman has been awarded the New Designers 100% Design Award 2014. His winning design is named Brace, denoting the joining mechanism that characterises his furniture range – a wire bracket that wraps around the joints and negates the need for glue, nails or screws.

Realising his design ideas were often restricted by shop-bought fixings, Pulman set out to design a joint that could be used universally across a furniture collection without the use of pre-existing components.

He spent ten weeks developing the brace, inspired by traditional construction methods such as square lashing and binding, and the stripped-back aesthetics of London-based studio Unto This Last.

The right-angled wire brace grips the supporting beam of the horizontal surface (be it shelf, seat, or table top) to a vertical leg, using the tension of the 5mm steel wire. It is then held secure by a small wooden wedge. Each horizontal beam is held in position by notches in the legs. The device is not over-engineered, but minimal and legible.

"The aim was for the pieces to exude functionality through a simplistic design," Pulman says. The furniture designs then evolved from this feature, feeding from its modernist appearance. "Once I had refined the brace, the furniture designs came very naturally. I wanted the structure and construction to have a strong bearing on the overall feel."

The range so far includes a shelving unit, bench and side table. In keeping with the rawness of the exposed joints, the furniture is industrial and utilitarian. The surfaces are made from striking galvanised steel sheet, which Pulman picked for its inherent spring and strength, with the edges folded into a soft right angle. The structure is built from English Ash wood, chosen for its neutral colour and durability.

The product is also easily taken apart and reassembled, a common undercurrent at the New Designers show. "Self-assembly is usually associated with lower quality, and the nuisance of different tools and fixings," Pulman explains. "This is furniture you can move house with and keep for a long time."

Pulman's design was selected for the award by a panel of judges including me, Icon editor Christopher Turner, 100% Design's William Knight and Saul Leese, and Leah Harrison Bailey, head of design at Thomas Matthews. Following the show, Pulman hopes to work with a manufacturer to develop the production process and expand on the range. The shelving will be on display at the 100% Design show in Earls Court from 17-20 September 2014.

 

Words

Jenny Brewer

 

Images

Dan Ross

quotes story

Self-assembly is usually associated with lower quality, and the nuisance of different tools and fixings. This is furniture you can move house with and keep for a long time

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