For the last couple of years we have been tentatively building a new project with Hillgrove Timber as a little company within a company to allow us to test our ideas about how people use wood and what furniture designers, makers and buyers alike need from a wood supplier.
As a result we are building The Reserve, a store of the most exceptional, remarkable, outstanding boards that come through the woodyard, kept aside solely for bespoke fine furniture makers.
In an extension of the Hillgrove Timber project is the acknowledgment that makers are central to our purpose and their influence goes deep.
How we source in the forests, how we choose logs to buy, how we care for the wood as it’s cut and seasoned is all shaped by the reciprocal relationship with our maker customers. This closeness of purpose has made collaboration a natural next step.
So in the spirit of collaboration Nick took our Hillgrove Timber show on the road to the interior design exhibition DECOREX in a creative project with designer/maker Simon Thomas Pirie, a craftsman with a deep appreciation for wood, a commitment to sustainability and a desire to provide exceptional work for his clients.
Here’s a film that tells some of the story…
Together Nick and Simon forged a plan to show our raw timber material alongside the beautifully finished furniture pieces of the Simon Thomas Pirie workshop in a environment that is all about the end product.
The aim was to bring the designers and their clients closer to wood, real wood, in a hands on, connect with all the senses kind of a way (you’d be surpised how many people get right up close and take a deep breath to smell the wood)
With Hillgrove we want to emphasize the range of qualities in homegrown timber and to shed some light on the responsible sourcing and selection process that is part of bespoke furniture making.
More importantly Simon and John took some glorious Hillgrove boards and made some very special furniture pieces that included a burr worktop, the Searchlight cabinets and the substantial Ziggurat dining table, centre piece on the stand.
Amidst the sumptuous fabrics, rich colours, and luxury finishes our raw wood did exactly what it always does in context… it drew smiles, loving hands and plenty of attention.
It gave us such pleasure to be able to connect the furniture with the wood right there on the spot. There was more discussion on sourcing and provenance than we’ve ever encountered.
To be able to talk trees and forestry in the same breath as kitchens and design was a dream come true. The understanding and awareness about wood, trees, the environment, sustainability and responsibility has grown and (wood pun alert!) taken root.
We were thrilled to hear our furniture making partners say “Yes” to clients that have been looking for years for a 6m book-matched dining table or “no problem, what species would you like?” to a designer desperately seeking a 4″ thick single piece worktop.
The super savvy and market driven interior design community seemed genuinely excited (and relieved!) to know that what they envisage or what clients want in wood is genuinely possible because of the availability of rare, super long, super wide or super thick boards of outstanding timber we’re finding, milling, drying and keeping in reserve solely for furniture makers.
Read Simon’s Decorex blog and find out about the featured pieces in more detail https://www.simonthomaspirie.co.uk/decorex-2019-2/
We have thoroughly enjoyed our maker collaboration and we’re looking forward to doing it again next year when we’ll deliver an even stronger message about British Forestry and Timber.
We’re also open to finding new ways to collaborate with the crafts men and women that work with our wood. If you have a project you think we might be interested in don’t be shy, get in touch!
As always, thanks for reading wood fans, until next time….
Ziggurat with it’s bookmatched boards, the Icini chair in various species and finishes, close ups of waney edges of boards, our smiley Nick Lewis and Simon in front of his Searchlight drinks cabinet made with a really interesting recycled cork matting as a surface finish.
If you’re wondering about the wood panelling on the stand it’s our homegrown sweet chestnut with a bespoke profile and smoked grey finish. If you want more info about the cladding don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or Simon who will gladly re-produce the panels and install it for you with the finish of your choice (and there is lots of choice!)
Search the online stock for Elm boards online HERE
Visit Simon Thomas Pirie website to see more beautiful bespoke furniture https://www.simonthomaspirie.co.uk/
Visit the Hillgrove Timber website to discover more about The Reserve or to find a maker for that special piece of furniture you’re dreaming of https://www.hillgrovetimber.co.uk/
Find us on Stand L161 with Simon and John at next year’s DECOREX dates are 11-14 October and it’s at Olympia in London. Book your tickets and discover more about Decorex here https://www.decorex.com/
If Elm has a special place in your heart you might be interested to read our Forestry Blog about a new variant of resistant Elm trees https://www.englishwoodlandsforestry.co.uk/2019/12/04/resistant-elm-british-forestry/