Winner: Oak furniture for the Dickson Poon Centre, Oxford
The desk submitted was part of a range of five pieces designed and made for the new-build Dickson Poon China Studies Centre at St Hugh’s College Oxford. High-quality pieces in solid European oak were specified in the brief, made within tight budgetary constraints.
Makers’ Eye created a family of products with a clear design signature to complement the subtle Oriental influence of the architecture. In total there were 177 pieces.
The highest quality timber was essential: attractive in colour and grain, durable and appropriate to its designed environment. It also had to be exceptionally clean; of good and consistent colour; humidity-regulated for stability in immediate use; quarter sawn wherever necessary, again for stability reasons; and square edged to reduce handling and machining time – and all these qualities were needed in a large quantities. Having found a good supplier, Makers’ Eye and the small makers who work for it could deliver high-quality furniture on time and to budget.
The judges said, ‘Makers’ Eye has put together a collaborative team of workshops to enable them to tackle a project that comprises nearly 200 pieces and has been supplied to the sort of quality that tends to come from smaller and bespoke makers.’
Client: St Hugh’s College, Oxford
Furniture company: Makers’ Eye
Furniture maker: Simon Thomas Pirie
Maker of library shelving units: Waywood
Manufacturer of lino surfaced desks: Matthew Burt
Timber: European oak
Scorched oak rocking chair
Comfortable dining chair design is the basis for this rocking chair, scaled up to provide the roomy proportions the designer felt appropriate. It appears to be formed organically, with a cross-section that changes from circular to oval and a profile that tapers and curves. Scorching the oak made it possible to achieve a homogeneous appearance, with none of the variations in grain and colour one might see otherwise. The judges said: ‘This is a piece of outstanding and quite extraordinary craftmanship. There are some really difficult details in the totally controlled surface.’
Furniture maker: Barnsley Workshop
Wood supplier: Tyler Hardwoods
Timber: European oak