In the first of a new regular feature where we learn about the inner-workings of the awardees of the Bespoke Guild Mark, we interview Tim Gosling, designer of the Carbon Fibre Tub Chair that was awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark in 2018.
Name of piece: Carbon Fibre Tub Chair
Designer name: Phil Sturdy, Photis Photi and Tim Gosling
Can you tell us the background of this project and your inspiration to make it?
The inspiration came from luxury travel of the 1930s, starting with the lightweight materials used in airships, followed by the design creativity of SS Normandie, Luxury Ocean Liner.
Please explain the materials you used for the piece?
Creating outside furniture exposed to sun, salt, wind and rain creates a huge technical issue. Teak was a material which because of its oil content was historically always the popular choice. Carbon fibre was a brand new material that suddenly gave us the opportunity to create more dynamic pieces and shapes and so the idea of the Gosling Marine Collection was born.
What features – subtle or obvious – are you particularly proud of?
The use of marine grade steel inset into the tub chair on a compound curve and bent to follow the exact chamfer angle was technically amazing and a great thing to have achieved.
How long did it take to create, from initial design to completion?
The design and development took over three years to create.
What modifications did you make along the way and why did you make them?
We went through a great deal of problem solving, tweaking and re thinking. To a certain extent we still are. I’m not sure we will ever stop looking at the design and working out how to adapt it to the new technical discoveries that are going on around carbon fibre and its production. The industry is moving at a fast rate.
What was the most challenging aspect of the design?
Carbon by its nature is always going to be black and looking at the yachting industry the last thing you want on board is black furniture, especially outside against the turquoise sea and blue sky. So we looked at the Allcraft paints, designed for the aeronautical industry, and keep a small black band so you can see into the carbon – it’s subtle but it is there.
What does the Bespoke Guild Mark mean to you?
There is no question it’s a remarkable honour to be judged worthy by your peer group – The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers has so many craftsman that I admire, so to have their blessing on our work is wonderful.
What do you see as the benefits of being awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark?
The Company has a duty to support the British design world, so we have a global platform to showcase our true and honest craftsmanship and design. Supporting the industry, keeping it full of life and healthy is a hard task particularly when uncertain political times makes the investment landscape precarious. The Bespoke Guild Mark is critical in lighting the path for other makers and workshops empowering us all to make a good living by designing and creating exceptional work.