August 11, 2016

Spotlight: Tom Faulkner

There is a sense of “Truth” to Tom Faulkner’s collections where Tom’s apparent mastery of simplicity in line and proportions allows the materials, craftsmanship and architectural elements to be revealed honestly. With a focus on materials – steel, glass, wood and marble, Tom chooses strong linear elements with bold horizontal and vertical features which often visually “defy physics” – Tom’s sculptural, sophisticated shapes have become his bold signature. Self-taught, Tom’s UK studio has grown organically adapting to customer’s preferences and trends yet even with an ever-expanding line, use of materials, and wide range of finishes his studio has never lost its meticulous attention to detail; there remains a sense of clarity through careful control with the intention to create more bespoke pieces intended for a selective audience. As the US exclusive for Tom Faulkner we are excited to share his exquisite artistry inviting you to investigate and inquire within! Tom skipped away from his studio to share a little backstory about design, process, and inspirations.

JJ: Can you recall how or why you became a maker?
TF: I always liked making things, and fixing things, and at some point in my late twenties, while I was working for a record company, I started making my own artworks. I used a lot of stencils and patterns, and a lot of colour.
At some point I needed a coffee table for myself, and I bought a big piece of round plywood and turned it in to a work of art using these techniques.
I didn’t have any formal training in design, or any knowledge of furniture design, but began to have lots of ideas. Once I’d finished my own table I couldn’t wait to make another one.

JJ:What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?
TF: I am influenced by everything I see around me and particularly nature and buildings. It’s also the little details and patterns that catch my eye. I am drawn to strong silhouettes. Many of my designs start with the two dimensional silhouette.

JJ: What part of the process excites you the most?
TF: My favourite part is actually drawing the shapes, physically, by hand, and realizing that they are coming to life. Then seeing them in three dimensions….that’s great!

JJ: What comes first the materials or the design idea?
TF: A bit of both. Some designs start with a shape, which is then extrapolated into a design, some start with a process or technique, and some start from the material. For example the new Berlin easy chair started with a type of leather. It is oak-bark tanned (a medieval process which is only still used by one tannery in England) which gives it an amazing colour as well as making it strong and supple. It’s so strong you can use it in an almost structural way. It looks amazing with the metalwork, which is water cut from steel plate – so a very modern process combined with a very ancient one, a great combination.

My interest in thick metal plate is leading me in a certain direction at the moment. When I designed AVA I wanted to make something clean, sculptural, and monumental. (Monumental is quite difficult in a table to be honest!). The table has very clean lines, and I love the way the plates overlap each other.

JJ: What makes your furniture line distinctive?
TF: Strong silhouettes, and clean lines

JJ: From all your pieces which is your favorite and why?
TF: Probably Capricorn because it is one of the earliest pieces that I designed and still one of our best sellers. It’s difficult to make, we make it very well, and we worked it out before CAD was widely available, and I love the shape.

JJ: What are you working on at the moment?
TF: Lots of new things, a lot of bronze, and a new Berlin dining chair.

JJ: Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
TF: Either Paul Newman or Robert Redford, from the days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

JJ: You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be (give it a name) and why?
TF: Somewhere between navy and emerald green – Ocean

JJ: Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? What do you serve?
TF: Woody Allen, Keith Richards, Barak Obama, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Audrey Hepburn, Tina Fey, Sinead O’Connor, Janis Joplin
Serving Roast Chicken

JJ: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
TF: I like skipping (down the street). It’s the most underrated form of getting from A to B on foot without breaking a sweat. Can cause others to raise eyebrows though….
And, I’ve never seen The Wizard of Oz, or Star Wars

JJ: What is your greatest indulgence?
TF: Ballet at the Royal Opera House

JJ: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
TF: Difficult to think of anything funny, but I am occasionally absent minded which seems to amuse other people… for example I picked up someone else’s suitcase in New York the other day and took it back to my hotel. Couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t open, so took a screwdriver to the lock before I noticed it wasn’t mine…

JJ: What songs best describe your work ethic?
TF: Satisfaction – Stones, Metal Guru – T-Rex, Windmills of Your Mind – Noel Harrison

JJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
TF: Always be the first to say hello.

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