Swill Bench

Designers: Lorna Singleton & Sebastian Cox

Swill Bench as seen on The Product Edit

Lorna Singleton is one of the young adults who have taken up the practice of Cumbrian swill basketry, learning from the South Lakes craftsman Owen Jones. Swilling is a process of tearing Oak along the grain of wood in order to keep the wood’s inherent strength and flexibility. The much less flexible alternative, timber, must be sawn across the grain at some point, which loses strength when we do so.

Swill Bench as seen on The Product Edit

Oak swill strips, when woven, can hold similar weights as timber at a fraction of the thickness. This has allowed Singleton & Cox to design this bench, and an accompanying stool, with a beautifully slim profile.

Swill Bench as seen on The Product Edit

Cox, a hugely successful woodworking studio (who’s work I’m sure I will write about more fully soon), manufactures the gently tapered English ash frame and Singleton weaves the English oak swill seats. The result is tactile, sturdy and achingly well proportioned.

Swill Bench as seen on The Product Edit

Both these items, and a couple that are a slightly more rustic, are for sale at The New Craftsman. It is worth noting, to their credit, that Singleton and Cox both manage coppiced woodland in Cumbria and Kent respectively and supply themselves with their own wood. Prices reflect this.

Swill Bench as seen on The Product Edit

More of Sebastian Cox’s work can be seen at sebastiancox.co.uk

Image Credit : The New Craftsman

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Melt (pendant)

Designer: Tom Dixon and FRONT

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

I feel like I should really like Tom Dixon’s work. It has all the shapes I like. He uses metallics and angles. Often together! Yes – good stuff. So why doesn’t it sing to me in the way it seems to for others? Bit too Marcel Wanders-y for me maybe, too “out there”? I figured it out a bit yesterday, while having a browse through the glory of the ‘designjunction’ Milan aftermath. I found a really beautiful, swelling pendant that gives the impression of just-blown glass.

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

Brief bit of info on the pendants themselves; they are vacuum formed polycarbonate with copper, gold and chrome particles applied to their interior. So that’s a whole new thing. They also do the hide and seek game – when you turn the light off, the lack of light behind this new material changes the level of transparency as you can see in the photo above. Charming by day, mysterious and transcendental by night.

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product EditTom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

As far as my personal er, non-connection with most of Tom Dixon’s designs, my new found opinion is that they work best in commercial spaces. And I’m just not in the habit of thinking in terms of public spaces like theatres and retail parks yet. I love these pendants, I love them in herds, shoals and parliaments (isn’t that owls? A parliament of owls? Hah) Their liveliness feeds off each other in a really striking way.

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

But they look a bit lost on their own, or in threes. And that how I usually think of products. Big commercial, industrial stuff is all really popular now for urban home interiors and I am not adverse to that at all (heck I too have a photographers floor lamp in the corner of my living) so why don’t I enjoy the image I get of a couple of Dixon’s of lighting pendants or bits and bobs scattered around the home?

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

I think it’s because the utilitarian or commercial use items that we now have in our homes are from designs created decades ago. Because Dixon’s forms are all so new, we’re just not used to his particular way of mixing up his personal style, chosen material or colour, and the context.

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

For now, in our minds, it is hard to accept these bizarre objects into our cosy homes that we’ve been filing with mainly ceramics, wood and textiles for thousands of years.

Tom Dixon's 'Melt' as seen on The Product Edit

Give it a decade or two though and I think things like these strange creations will be lighting up our dining tables.  Just like that industrial lamp you have over yours now.  Though, in fairness, weren’t hover cars meant to be a staple already!? C’mon Honda… power of dreams and all that?

Image Credits: BN DeStem Wonen / Tom DixonCore 77 / PSFKDeZeen / Plus Shop (on instagram) / Casa Vogue / Inred Hemma

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