Sebastian Cox 03.03.15

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The furniture designer and self-confessed “wood nerd” talks to Katie Treggiden about his work

"Designer produces table with metal legs” is hardly a snappy headline. Or at least not until you realise that the designer is Sebastian Cox, winner of a 2011 Wood Award. Known for his work with British hardwood, his table legs are more likely to be branches with the bark still intact. “Growing up in woodlands, I had an emotional connection with wood,” he says. “That got me interested in design.” He studied at Lincoln and then stayed on for a masters in sustainable design: “Wood is grown using sunlight and produces oxygen – if you invented a new material that did that, people would be all over it!”

Now, Cox is keen to work with other craftsmen, combining this knowledge with their expertise: “My interest in materials comes from a fascination with craft. I love watching people work and seeing little nuances, like the bounce of a blacksmith’s hammer on the anvil between strikes. Interesting things happen at intersections between different practices.”

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Cox’s first collaboration is with product designer Anthony Dickens and blacksmith Richard Fishenden of Made by the Forge. The result is that table with metal legs – part of a collection for Heal’s called Tree to Table. Keen to recreate his excitement in selecting wood at the timber yard, Cox has designed waney-edged table-tops – each a full-width vertical slice of a tree trunk – in oak, ash, limed beech and sycamore, which customers select from racks in-store. With the aid of Heal’s staff, customers attach four cast-iron legs in the shape of tuning forks at home, which Fishenden has beaten into a tapered form and finished with beeswax.

Cox is also working with ceramics designer Billy Lloyd on a collection that combines coppiced hazel from Kentish trees with ceramics made from the clay in which they grew, and also with Thomas Appleton on a series of tables utilising stone and wood indigenous to the same area. 2016 promises to be a busy year!

 

Words

Katie Treggiden

 

Image: Jon Cardwell

quotes story

Wood is grown using sunlight and produces oxygen – if you invented a new material that did that, people would be all over it!

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