William Warren

London based product and furniture designer
Posts Tagged ‘perverting manufacture’

The Elves and the Chairmakers

One factory, 5 Designers, and 2 days.

On a sleepy weekend in early June this year, five designers visited the famous Lloyd Loom of Spalding factory. Whilst the assembly workers were away, and assisted by two of Lloyd Loom’s loyal craftsmen, the designers with no set agenda, helped themselves to standard components, experimented and reinterpreted. Over the intense and frantic two days, thirteen new concepts were conceived and left in the factory showroom for the staff to find on Monday morning.


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Over the weekend,  myself and Gareth Neal went down to Hastings to learn how to make Sussex Trugs. We were taught by John Carnell who has been making trugs for many years. He is one of the few trug makers who uses only hand processes, splitting his wood down into planks rather than cutting it on a machine. John was an excellent teacher and great company.

The Sussex Trug is a type of traditional basket made in the South East. Originally,…

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Chinese Whispers

Willow pattern is a common English crockery design that has been popular for over two hundred years. The pattern originates from China and was ‘interpreted’ by Europeans. This version is now it is manufactured in Japan. The design has traveled backward and forward with a suitable amount of development with each trip, like the game of Chinese whispers.

The ceramics are produced in the usual way, with transfers applied to standard white ceramics, but this time with each piece ‘wearing’ the…

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Sleeping Rough

This is a design that explores both narrative and production methods. The bed was made in Birmingham by a company who would normally produce standard park benches. They were able to manufacture the bed using their existing tooling jigs, skills and material suppliers, for a fraction of the price of a hand built bed, made by other UK joinery firms. They were also able to include other lovely details such as the engraved text in the headboard and they explained…

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Indent Crockery

One of my early experiments with manufacturing intervention combined with narrative from 2000. The crockery was produced by a well-known ceramics factory in Stoke on Trent where I was allowed to interrupt the production line in mid flow. I sat and bit the plates myself as they were produced, leaving them to continue through production to be picked up in quality control.

The final result appears as if someone has been so hungry that they have tried to eat the plates.

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Bathroom Toolbox

Talco produce metal tool boxes in the west midlands with a relatively low perceived value. We developed this bathroom cabinet to be manufacturable using the companies existing manufacturing capability.. The project was conceived to offer an established British manufacturing company new market opportunities. Where a toolbox would normally wholesale at £8, we thought a bathroom cabinet might wholesale at £25 to home-ware retailers. The higher perceived value increases the profit whilst working in similar materials and production techniques.

The toolbox cabinet…

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Drunk Wine Glass

This design grew from the observation that when identical objects roll off the production line, it is the mistakes that have more quality and personality.

With the difficult craft of glassblowing, the more skilled you are, the more perfect or identical your blown pieces will be. The better you are at the craft, the more your output will look like a machine had produced them. It seems a shame that one of the aims of the skill is to hide itself.


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