Sebastian Cox (right) and Liam Treanor are We Have Furniture, and they do, look! And, it is beautiful furniture, which is good for us types who love that sort of thing. Their work is quite different (Liam’s is the top two images, Sebastian’s afterwards), but they share a passion for wood, design, craftsmanship and pastry (that’s just Liam, actually). Our kind of guys. They’re showing at this year’s Tent London, but until then, let’s meet them…
When did you know that you wanted to design? (SC) I suppose before I knew what design was. I wanted to be an inventor from a very young age, and made things from anything I could find. (LT) At cabinet making college I studied the great Marcel Breuer. His work made me realise there is so much more to a successful product than pretty joints and extravagant decoration.
What are you most proud of in your work? (SC) I’m most proud of my ethos of design through making. When I develop a new product I rarely sit at a computer designing on CAD. I do use CAD for working our scale and proportions, but most of the details and working elements I develop in the workshop through trial and error. I believe that having this engagement with making produces stronger pieces. (LT) Embodying everything I have found influential in design; but in a unique and fresh style.
What kind of material do you think has great possibilities? (SC) I think that coppiced hazel has so much potential. I’ve been working with it for a couple of years and I’d love to see it used more widely. (LT) I’m going to go for wood as a whole; I don’t really like moving away from it. It’s the texture it holds and patina it gains, other materials just can’t compare.
Which product would you redesign if you could? (SC) I’d probably re-design the M25. It’s one of the UK’s biggest headaches. (LT) I would like to design a 21st century Cona coffee maker, I wonder if I could redesign it with similar success to what Abram Games achieved when it was his job to do so.
Which designer has inspired your work? (SC) William Morris and the other Arts and Crafts designers and makers. I’m hugely inspired by their ideologies, and the way they looked back to a previous era for their principles was really radical, something I consider in my work. (LT) Alvar Aalto mostly; his use of laminated wood to produce curved components; use of pale timbers; his admiration for nature and natural forms; his recognition of wood as one of the few human friendly materials.
What designers you know should we watch out for? (SC) Liam Treanor, he’s doing some nice stuff at the moment. I’ve been really impressed by a guy called Neil Conley who we exhibited at One Year On with. He has a subtle and intelligent approach to sustainable design. (LT) I’ve recently been liking the work of Simen Aarseth, Steuert Padwick and Sean Dare of Dare Studio.
What are you looking forward to about being at Tent? (SC) The Friday night party was ace last year, the atmosphere of the whole exhibition is just brilliant. Obviously I’m also looking forward to taking lots of orders and meeting new journalists. (LT) Being surrounded by talented designers in a friendly family-like environment and sharing my latest products with the public, press and industry specialists.
What’s your next grand plan? We’re both planning a big move to London. It is a very grand plan!
What do you get up when not being a brilliant, cutting-edge designer? Describe your perfect day off… (SC) On Saturdays I play hockey, which is a great release from a stressful week, but my perfect day off would probably be a day visiting a city I’ve never been to before. (LT) Experiencing new cultures and places, especially if evocative of design eras or styles that interest me.
Tell us a secret… (SC) I can’t swim. (LT) I’m probably a little bit addicted to pastry.