This smart, neighbourhood restaurant in Clapton wanted their brand to be reflected in bold but simple interior. Verden’s purposefully minimal palette, accented with natural materials, creates a clean and modern backdrop to the wine, food and customers that bring the place to life. Practicality was a real focus; split over two floors Verden has two very distinct spaces and each posed their own spatial challenges. The bespoke wooden furniture, cutting boards and lighting form a big part of the Verden experience, all adding a distinctiveness, warmth and tactility.
Leathes Head Bar
The Leathes Head Hotel wanted to renovate their bar with an interior that reflected the natural and historic fabric of the surrounding Borrowdale Fells. Natural materials were specially selected from the industries prolific throughout the Lake Districts history - Slate, timber, willow, wool and graphite.
The bar was originally split between two rooms, by pulling the barman into the centre of the public area we blended the two spaces to create a 'conversational' space. Now, under the glow of a locally-weaved Willow light, and with the hand-crafted Cumbrian Oak drinks displays flanking all sides of the space, there is an intimate, cosy atmosphere. The slate bar top is beautifully etched using CNC computer technology with the OS contours of the surrounding fells of Borrowdale, inviting guests to recall and plot their expedition route.
Working alongside architectural designer Tom Kaneko, this collaborative project has transformed a traditional Victorian terrace so that it is now filled with natural light, with framed views of the garden from the heart of the house.
The focal point for the interior design, derived from conversations with the client, was to showcase natural materials and traditional craft. By creating a neutral, contrasting backdrop makes the trims of natural material sing.
Utilitarian but minimal, with polished granite worktops complementing oil finished black-dyed oak cupboard fronts, together offer a smart, contemporary kitchen design. All the lines deliberately lead the eye out to the garden – everything from the timber panelling to the horizontal wood grain on the kitchen units.
The owners wanted to bring some nature into the kitchen - a uniquely designed flexible cantilever shelving system holds any variety of plants and kitchen utensils, and provides a visual link between the kitchen and the seating area by the garden.
Long chats about the seating area and Mid-20th Century design, it was decided the style reference should come from a mutual love of George Nakashima – the two-piece English Elm sofas have been handmade from four large slabs joined in a simple, Japanese-inspired construction.
As natural light pours into the once dark dining room area, the lighter colour scheme deliberately contrasts with the darker, modern kitchen.
Lighting has been integrated into the interior features wherever possible. At night the walls blend with the dark windows while select task lighting provide intimate, homely atmosphere throughout the space.
The opportunity to design a baby chair for ‘Mathilda’ allowed me to explore the styles and construction of mid-twentieth century furniture that I had admired for so long.
It captures the softness and natural form that was so symbolic of that time – reflected in its seamless joints, that flow from one direction to the next around the whole chair.
The Mathilda Chair was hand-carved from Olive Ash, sourced from Cumbria. The wood was chosen for it’s unique contrasting grain that for me is reminiscent of tiger print once oiled.
This boot bench was designed for a very specific place in the client's new home. The priority was to create a design that is practical and that avoids making the confined area cluttered.
Inspired by the clients Ercol kitchen chairs, the free-standing bench is Cumbrian Oak, hand finished through and through, from lathe to hand-carved backrest – the result is a beautiful, practical and everlasting piece of furniture.
We were inspired by an original Arts and Crafts piece, the Barrel Chair, on display at Blackwell House in Windermere.
Creating the steam-bent components of these chairs was a real undertaking as it is notoriously a dark art. Leaping into this new skill with the guidance of Master Craftsman Charlie Whinney and his team in South Cumbria, we streamlined our production line with CNC’d jigs and supporting components.
Clean, knot-free Cumbrian Oak was specially selected, essential for a good consistent bend. Teaming up with FabLab Cockermouth, we digitally designed the seat shape into the solid oak bases, and laser etched the hotel emblem into the centre slat, which was then in-filled with granite, in a nod to the historic granite mining of the area. We then finished the pieces by hand and oiled them to bring out the best of the wood's rich colour.
These unique, clean-looking chairs are still robust enough to handle the wear and tear of life in a busy restaurant. They also needed to be straightforward to produce, for batch production during the build of the restaurant. The leather strapback add softness and comfort. Made from English Sycamore their light colouring and beautiful natural fleck and figure in the grain contrast against the dark neutral backdrop.
Designed to safely house and showcase a collection of delicate Indian saris. The client and I worked collaboratively to design a box born from our shared love of Indian Architecture.
The overall form of the box was inspired by the stone temples of India - monolithic and poised on plinths of intricately carved marble. Inside the saris would sit side by side showing the various bright colours while the box is closed through the intricate window.
The materials were specifically selected to protect the silk saris, Cedar, main core of the box has a strong scent traditionally used as a deterrent to moths.
The saris are held in individual natural linen pockets, the finest fabric to minimise damage over time.
To lift the box to be a decorative art piece in itself a pattern, borrowed from a favourite sari, seamlessly wraps around the Sycamore exterior box, the bright colours borrowed from the saris collection contrasting against the light Sycaomore timber.
Big Ash Lamp
Hanging pride of place in the Verden interior, this Big Ash Lamb is a favourite of all our commissions.
Jonathan Leech, an experienced wood turner from the Lake District, hunted high and low for this special section of timber that met our size requirements. The lampshade was made from the ‘crotch’ (where two branches split from the top of the trunk) of an old Ash tree. Creating the piece was actually a unique challenge for Jonathan - a commission that really pushed his skill and his machinery. Take a look at this short film of the making of the Big Ash Lamp.
These little stools were made from the offcuts left over from the Dangan Road Sofa. They were the perfect finish to the kitchen breakfast bar.
Building Leathes Head
Dons of Tequila
This tasting box for tequila brand Jose Cuervo presented a unique collaborative challenge. The box has been designed to be a tool, walking people through the process of creating and tasting tequila, with built in flaps to display information and reveal each step appropriately.
We manufactured many in production line. Hand made Oak boxes were individually distressed and aged to reference the oak barrels used by Jose Cuervo to age their tequila. Making these boxes in batched quantities allowed us to use manufacturing techniques like screen printing the text and CNC milling the internal protection made from cork.