In the second of a new regular feature shining the spotlight on Bespoke Guild Mark holders, we speak to Edward Johnson, designer of the Radiant Desk, which was awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark in 2018-2019.
Name of piece: Radiant desk
Designer name: Edward Johnson
Maker: Andrew Norton at Edward Johnson Ltd.
Can you tell us the background of this project and your inspiration to make it?
This was an interesting project from the outset as my brief was two-fold. Firstly, my client wanted the desk to partially integrate into a fitted study space, and secondly, to be designed as a freestanding desk, enabling it to become a future heirloom piece. The asymmetrical shape took both functions into consideration, with the curved legs and tapered lines leading you into the study space while working aesthetically as a stand-alone piece.
Explain the materials you used for the piece.
The desk is made from two colour tones of fumed oak combined with brown oak. The room is oak timber framed – therefore, the oak variants were selected to complement the location alongside the fitted element of the project. The gradient of fumed oak to brown oak has been meticulously planned and adds a rich tonal vibrance to the study. The desk is finished with a durable two-part satin oil.
What features – subtle or obvious – are you particularly proud of/make the design unique?
The desk is made using our handcrafted ‘Murano’ veneers that have been researched and developed in our workshop over the past few years. The radial veneer on the top of the desk is an interesting and tricky process to master. The surface pattern starts with a dark core and graduates through to the lighter coloured timbers, with the surface reminiscent of the growth rings of a tree.
How long did it take to create, from initial design to completion?
Having previously worked with the clients, I already had a good understanding of their style and taste, so the design work took approximately one month to tweak and finalise and then the making aspect took over 250 hours to finesse.
What modifications did you make along the way and why did you make them?
We had already mastered the ‘Murano’ veneer process on previous projects, so modification involved tweaking small details like chamfers and the edge detail on the legs. For its current partially integrated location we also had to finesse the adjustable feet housed into each leg.
What was the most challenging aspect of the design?
Working with two design briefs whereby trying to achieve a balance with the design as a partially integrated desk and a free-standing piece of furniture.
What does the Bespoke Guild Mark mean to you?
It’s always a fantastic crescendo to a project and adds to the legacy of the piece, especially in this instance as it was specifically designed to be passed on through the family. I was particularly pleased to see Andy, our cabinet maker who worked on this piece, get his first Guild Mark, it is something many makers aspire to.
What do you see as the benefits of being awarded a Bespoke Guild Mark?
It is such a high bar to achieve, simply aspiring to enter a piece for a Bespoke Guild Mark undoubtedly improves your decisions and ability as both a designer and a maker, which can only serve to be a good thing. Being awarded the Guild Mark not only acknowledges your development and ability as a designer-maker within the industry but also gives you a prestigious award to promote your work with and tell your clients about.
For more information about Edward, go to https://edwardjohnsonstudio.co.uk/