Vogue Living Australia


Three of the most dynamic players on the UK design scene joined forces at LDF for an event called Factory. Billed as “the reunion of design, craft and industry”, it was put together by furniture maker Sean Sutcliffe (co-founder of Benchmark) and Emily Johnson (co-founder of 1882 Ltd, named after the year her family started producing ceramics). Among the works they featured were those of rising star Max Lamb. Hosted at the Spitalfields offices of trend forecasters The Future Laboratory, the event was an opportunity for the trio to share their
love of creating, both at the level of a one-o artisan
and a small-run manufacturer. Lamb’s Planks collection transformed the simple dining table into a utilitarian triumph, with concealed storage boxes in usually empty spaces, such

as the underside of a table or bench.
For Johnson, who also showcased ceramic collections by

the likes of Lindsey Adelman and Kiki van Eijk, the process of making candle holders on site allowed visitors “to get their hands dirty, to touch and smell the wood, bone and clay”. She says it was a perfect demonstration that while each participant had different manufacturing skills, “we share the same ethos for the beauty of craft, particularly when dealing with the natural materials. A machine can’t assess the beauty of a piece of wood or a slip of clay.”

Sutcliffe enjoyed the opportunity to team up with Lamb. “Working with Max is a refreshing experience because he’s passionate about the material — he’s considered every step of the manufacturing process before the piece has even been made,” says Sutcliffe. “He knows the exact stop point when something is right.”

With past collaborations including Alfred Dunhill, Dzek and Cinelli, Lamb, meanwhile, is a confirmed fan of the team approach, believing it can result in something far greater than the sum of its parts. “As a designer-maker, it’s easy to work in isolation,” he says. “Here, where we’ve combined thoughts and hands, there’s been a revelation that together, what’s possible becomes exponential.” benchmarkfurniture.com; 1882ltd.com; maxlamb.org.

Fiona Mccarthy – Vogue Living Australia