The Young Furniture Makers exhibition, our special one-day event showcasing furniture, lighting and textile designs from emerging designer-makers to employers and key players in the furnishing industry, returns to the City of London this October.
The event, which is principally sponsored by Tizo and co-sponsored by Axminster Tools, Celtheath and NaughtOne, will take place on Wednesday 11 October at Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, London.
In the run-up to the exhibition, we’ll be meeting some of this year’s exhibitors who are looking forward to meeting our members and people from industry.
Name: Gul Yasin
Tell us about the product you’re exhibiting. What’s the story behind it?
The Duir table draws inspiration from the Ogham alphabet’s character for oak. Ogham was the first written language of the British Isles, and its letters were based on native trees. Duir is the fourth letter and it represents the Oak tree and the letter D. This symbol, and the story of the tree alphabet captured my imagination. When the four tables that make up the piece sit together, they display the ancient symbol ‘Duir’. The piece is an homage to Oak and to Ogham. Animating the story of the tree alphabet in a contemporary, physical form. It is a reminder of a time where we were living in greater alignment with the other organisms with whom we share this land. When the basis of our written communication, our vehicle for sharing the most important news, was grounded in our intimate connection with trees. Each table showcases the beauty of English Oak in a different way.
The largest table is scorched, giving it an ultra dark colour and tactile, wavy texture. The smaller dark table is ebonised through a natural reaction from tannins present in oak. Applying a simple vinegar based solution to oak turns it a deep bluey black. The remaining two pieces showcase Oak in its raw, natural beauty and have a subtle colour difference if you pay attention.
What was the most challenging part of bringing the designs to life?
The piece is about the concept so I wanted it to be beautiful yet simple, to let the symbol shine. However I also wanted it to function really well. That was my challenge. Each of the four tables should work on their own as stable pieces of furniture that can be pulled away and used independently around a room. I had to think hard about how to design in this stability without compromising the sleek silhouette I was aiming for.
I made a lot of different models, with various configurations for the legs. I made several miniature models and ones that were true to size and played around with the placement of the legs and joinery to ensure that it was strong and sturdy, without adding any interruptions into the curves on the outside of the legs. It was challenging to get that just right, but I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.
What do you hope to get out of being part of the Young Furniture Makers exhibition?
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my work, and to meet other makers just starting out in the industry. I hope it’s an opportunity to step into a network of creatives, including peers and more established makers. I would love learn from those more experienced and hear about their journeys. It would be great to find some affordable workshop space in London, for people just starting out.
Who is your design hero and why?
There are so many designers and artists who inspire me, I don’t have a specific design hero. I recently saw a Yinka Illori exhibit at the Design Museum, I love that his work is so joyous and expansive. He designs everything from spaces, to textiles to chairs. Designers who think about the social and ecological context of their work tend to pique my interest most.
What are your career aspirations?
I want to establish my own studio, making furniture and sculpture. I’m driven by story and by material so I’d love the opportunity to keep exploring and making.
Which company would you love to work for one day?
I want to work for myself, as Gul Yasin Studio. Working for another company would be a great learning opportunity too. It would be interesting to work somewhere that values craftsmanship and does bespoke pieces, as well as more architectural projects.
How do you think you’d react if you won a Young Furniture Makers Award?
I would be stunned. Just being considered is a huge deal. It’s so personal to share something you’ve worked on and thought about for months and put it out there in front of your peers and people from the industry. To be acknowledged and to have people like your work is so special.