I'm frequently abroad with work visiting suppliers and factories and every once and a while I get to venture a little closer to home.
Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with Steuart Padwick in his creative environment - much better for discussing projects that in a sterile meeting room.
Steuart has an established career within furniture design and in 2009 launched his own design studio; as well as selling directly to customer’s he also designs for retailers, one of which is MADE.
Over in Berkshire is Steuarts home/studio/workshop, an amazing mix of home improvement projects, prototypes, scale furniture maquettes and a full size silverback gorilla model (unexpected).
Among the creative chaos are design nuggets; some of which are projects I'm working on with him for MADE including a new upholstery range ... watch this space.
I was left pining for a creative space of my own once more; a luxury my compact London flat can't accommodate.
Life drawing sketches.
Horse Shoe Chair and scale model.
I want some stairs like this!
It looks retro but this is an 'Amp Lamp' connected to an Ipod.
Steuart contemplating a workshop tidy up!
On the way back we popped in to the beautifully located Benchmark showroom and workshops (now 35,000 square feet) which area converted farm near the village of Kintbury in West Berkshire. Some highlights in the showroom were Mrs B Dining table by Russell Pinch, CH33 Designed by Hans Wegner and the exquisitely made scale models.
No photos of the busy workshops but it was great to see the highly skilled craftsmen diligently working on varied projects from catalogue products to huge bespoke hotel reception desks. No photos as I'm a 'competitor', but would prefer to be seen as an aspiring designer; with an aim to be one of the first Female designer for the brand, alongside Kay + Stemmer and Tomoko Azumi!
This is the very cool order book; which has every product ever sold by Benchmark and who the designer was; brilliant forward thinking and a 'who's-who' of its design legacy.