William Warren

London based product and furniture designer
Posts Tagged ‘traditional’


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,…

More »

guitar making

I’ve been making an acoustic guitar. There are some really lovely techniques that have evolved over hundreds of years, all aimed at making the guitar as strong but still as light as possible.

The guitar is a 1;18 Martin parlour. I’ve used cherry for the back and sides, spruce for the front and mahogany for the neck with a load of other woods. Whatever I can find really.

More »

upholstered sunray chair

This is an extremely comfortable arm chair for prolonged sitting. It is ideal for use in waiting areas or in places to relax, such as conservatories or librariarys.

The chair has a seat made from a single plank of Ash, carved into a comfortable bottom shape. Like the Sunray chair designed at the same time, the seat’s spindles all run into the lower rails of the chair, rather than the seat block, as they would in a traditional windsor chair. The back…

More »

sunray chair

The direct development from the chair originally made in the woods for the Bodging Milano project, this is a traditionally constructed windsor chair in ash, with a carved seat, spindles and a steam bent back bow.

The spindles in the back do not run into the seat block, but instead fan out from the lower back rail giving a sun rise effect. The top of the seat has nothing joining into it, allowing the curve back and seat to sit comfortably together…

More »

Cov Bodge

As a direct development of the Bodging Milano project, the same nine designers were invited to traditional chair manufacturers Sitting Firm in coventry. The designers were given the run of the factory for three days and allowed access to the well stocked stores of component parts and the specialist chair making equipment.

In the three days, I managed to produce three chairs; two armchairs of the same design and a dining seat.

More »

bodging milano

From 30th March to April 5th 2010, nine designers went in the woods of deepest Herefordshire. With the help of Gudrun Leitz and her assistant Paul, each designer had to make a greenwood chair in the outdoor workshop. The challenge was in getting out of the studio, away from drawing boards, computer screens, and mechanised equipment and back into the hands-on world of the original country chair-makers. In the woods there is no electricity, only pole lathes, steam benders and some…

More »

Weave Stool

Inspired by traditional woven topped seating, this stool is made from four identical plywood forms that weave together to form the seat and legs. The stools are veneered in natural ash or black ash.

The stools were launched at the British Design Embassy during the Milan Design Festival in April 2009.

More »

Silhouette Chair ‘Victoria’

The ‘Victoria’ chair is the wife of ‘Albert’, the Silhouette chair that I designed for Trico in 2001. Both chairs are developed from the shapes of traditional English chairs and made in laminated plywood. The result is an elegant shape, which is aware of the chairs that have gone before it.

Victoria was launched at a solo show in Tokyo called ‘Lovable, Alternative Folk Design, during their design week in December 2007.

Link to chair on Trico’s website

More »

Look Back Mirror

This full-length wall mirror presents a modern exterior alongside a more traditional hidden form. What at first appears to be an undecorated square mirror frame reveals the ‘ghost’ of a traditional molded gilt frame when you look into the mirror.

The mirror was launched at a solo show in Tokyo called ‘Lovable, Alternative Folk Design, during their design week in December 2007.

Link to mirror on Trico’s website

More »

Silhouette Chair ‘Albert’

In England, this is a common shape for a chair. An archetype. The shape has evolved rather than been designed. It originated from the qualities of the wood from which it is constructed and the processes available to make it in the past. It has been reproduced often because it is strong and comfortable.

My version of the chair is made in laminated plywood. This process works by gluing together thin sheets or ‘veneers’ of wood over a mould. A technique…

More »

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…

More »

Terror Firma Parquet

This parquet came about as an application for the tessellating pattern I had come up with. I couldn’t think of what else to do with it. It was originally made as an floor for a trade show stand and has been installed in a few houses since.

I would have loved to see this design used in a James Bond villan’s luxury hide away. The pattern does celebrate the automatic pistol which is not my style. Guns are bad. Yeah?

More »

Pub Sofa and Armchairs

The Pub Sofa and Armchairs carry the traditional within the modern. The simple modern cube sofa contains the memories of older sofa styles. The deep buttoned velvet sofa is at a slight angle to the exterior to reinforce the two at slightly at odds with each other.

The sofa and armchairs were launched at a solo show in Tokyo called ‘Lovable, Alternative Folk Design, during their design week in December 2007.

Link to sofa on Trico’s website

Link to armchair on Trico’s website

More »

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.


More »