It all began at the tender age of 10 when Charlie made his first table out of old pallets swiftly followed by a shelf to house much-loved Beano comics. An Art Foundation focused his creativity and by the age of 19 he knew furniture design was to be his career.
Having trained at Oxfordshire’s prestigious Rycotewood Furniture College, where he also enjoyed a much-prized exchange placement at renowned Swedish design house Stenebyskolan, Charlie went on to complete a BA (Hons) in Furniture and Product Design at specialist university college Ravensbourne in London.
Charlie’s career path gives him a unique perspective on the furniture industry having spent seven years designing mass-produced furniture, garnering experience in large-scale production and witnessing thousands of his designs rolling off production lines around the world. However, during this time, it soon became clear that his heart lay in the roots of furniture-making – designing and hand-making bespoke pieces to order for individual customers.
A move to the South West to begin a new chapter followed in 2004 and he has spent the last decade or so designing and making in his ever-expanding workshop in deepest Wiltshire.
When developing a new design, I start in two ways. Either with an intense amount of market research into which products or pieces of furniture would be best to bring to market. Or, as is the case with my Farleigh Magazine Holder and Iford Library Step Chair, I follow my desire to design and make a certain type of furniture, usually brought on by my own need or want of such a piece. (I have so far always found this to the best and most successful route!)
Once I have decided on the piece, I spend a large amount of time getting a feel for the design in my head over dog walks and many moments in between. Along with research into the existing market, I then spend a huge amount of time in the workshop prototyping, prototyping, prototyping…
I then spend time with these prototypes for some weeks as I learn to live with them and fine tune the design. At this stage I have before, after weeks of work, discarded a design completely if it’s not working. After this step, I focus on detailing and, at all points, the construction and structure of the piece. I aim to make my pieces as structurally and architecturally interesting as possible.
I have over 25 years’ experience in both mass-production and made-to-order furniture.
Following my Art Foundation, where I realised furniture was my true passion, I did a two-year HND in Furniture Design and Making at Rycotewood College in Thame Oxfordshire including an exchange with the Swedish college, Stenebyskolan.
I then went onto Ravensbourne College in London to do a BA in Furniture Design and Related Product Design, including three months of work experience in the design office of a Nursery Furniture manufacturer in East London.
2019 Indy Best Buy – Farleigh Magazine Rack
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