Chippendale graduates at New Designers Exhibition


Eight exciting designers from the Chippendale International School of Furniture will be exhibiting at the New Designers Exhibition in London.

All eight will be on Stand FP68 from 5th to 8th July.  The New Designers Exhibition, now in its 32nd year, is being held at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, London N1 0QH.

The newly-qualified designers are from the UK, USA, Poland and South Korea, and will be exhibiting handmade and uniquely designed pieces of furniture – so do come along!

It’s the first time that Chippendale school graduates have showcased their talents at the New Designers Exhibition, the last stop on an exhibition programme that began in Edinburgh in June.

Here’s a little about each designer:

Jonathan Downing

Jonathan, from Surrey, graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Industrial design, and after working at a design studio in Newcastle enrolled at the Chippendale International School of Furniture.

His background in design can be seen in his signature piece of furniture – a drinks cabinet drawing inspiration from an unopened flower. The interior of the cabinet, and the hand carved lotus flower handle, have been gilded with 23.5 carat gold using a process that dates back over 5000 years.

This ancient technique has been combined with the modern process of computer-based design and manufacturing. The main body of the cabinet has been constructed from CNC, precision cut discs which, when stacked on top of each other, create the shape. This was then painstakingly filled and smoothed to make the final organic shape.

Jonathan hopes to work in the furniture industry for a few years, gaining enough knowledge and skills before setting up his own business in the South East of England

Spencer Renna

Spencer Renna, from New York, worked for years in environmental advocacy before committing full time to woodwork and design at the Chippendale school.

His signature piece that will be on display at New Designers is a drinks cabinet made of rosewood veneer and hardwood elm. It is a retro piece, designed to resemble a fashion popular in modern furniture in the mid to late sixties.

After the London exhibition, Spencer will be returning to New York City and setting up a work space that caters to residents new and old and who are looking for unique and bespoke handmade pieces for their homes.

Jin Sung Choi

Jin Sung Choi from Busan in South Korea is a former trainee pilot and Marine soldier, who has discovered a skill and passion for woodworking.

Always interested in both design and the practical skills in making furniture, he hopes to go onto further training in Japan, to develop his technique in carving and gilding.

He then hopes to set up his own business in South Korea where he thinks the market is beginning to embrace outside influences.

“South Korean furniture is traditionally made from solid wood, often inlaid with mother of pearl and with brass fastenings and handles,” says Jin.

“I am more interested in bringing a delicate Western approach, and creating furniture that is both Oriental and classical.”

One of his signature pieces is a stunning desk in solid fumed oak, with turned legs, brass fixings – incorporating a hidden compartment with a hidden key.

Fergus Hart

They’re man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean they like to have someone use them as a footstool.  But for dog lovers everywhere, Fergus Hart from Edinburgh has come up with the answer.

Fergus is taking one of his hand-made dogs with him to the London exhibition, and part of his business plan is to design and make bespoke doggie footstools from a carefully-shaped MDF core and covered over by specially-chosen English sheepskin.

Fergus believes that he’s filling a gap in the dog-lovers’ market, because he can hand-build any breed of dog from good photography – and he already has four orders.

He’ll also be taking a drinks cabinet with him to London, a small cabinet to showcase a decanter of something very special.  His unusual and finely-made cabinet in oak and walnut features brass inlays and fittings.

Fergus will be returning to the school to take incubation space and set up Fergus Hart Bespoke Furniture.

Campbell Deeming

Campbell Deeming, from Aberdeenshire, is a student and teaching assistant at the Chippendale school.  He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh as well as the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft.

After the London exhibition, Campbell will be establishing The Lost Journeyman Workshop, specialising in contemporary furniture, boat restorations and interiors, and architectural and finish joinery.

He will be exhibiting an elegant office desk that combines the sleek lines, bold contrasts and subtle highlights of Art Deco design.  Hand built from spalted beech, ebonized oak and luxuriant sycamore, his desk is constructed with techniques that date back to the Middle Ages and is accented in copper.

It is a beautifully-crafted piece, from a craftsman who has also worked as a professional boat builder and teacher for the Portsoy Coble Project and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

He has also  embarked on making a sea chest for the commander of the Royal Navy’s new flagship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth,  made from a plank of Burmese teak from a former Naval flagship,  the battleship HMS Nelson, which played an important role in World War II.

Zachary Schnitzer

Zachary, from New York, studied studio art with a focus on sculpture, as well as Architectural and Engineering design at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.  Upon graduating, he worked as an apprentice for two years at a custom furniture company in New York.

His background in art and architecture has given him the skills and perspective to blend form and function into pieces of furniture that are both visually-stunning and utterly practical.

His signature piece is a drafting table in solid fumed oak that can be set to any angle, with the use of an entirely wooden rotating track system for the perfect working position.  The table comes complete with a matching stool.

He’ll also be exhibiting a spiral wooden spring table made from American oak and ash, with a steam-bent spring that gives a playful edge to an otherwise functional piece.

Zachary will be returning to the States after graduation to pursue a career in furniture design and making.

Jack Jensen

Jack, from Milton Keynes, came to the Chippendale school from a three-year furniture making course at Moulton College in Northamptonshire.

His keen enthusiasm for working with wood has blossomed into a very real talent for cabinet making, creating beautifully-made pieces that incorporate absolute originality.

His signature piece for the London exhibition is his Oriental-style drinks cabinet in American black walnut and Scottish olive ash.

His cabinet echoes the style of traditional Japanese archways and bridges, with rice paper sliding doors that perfectly resemble a traditional Oriental interior.

Jack is hoping to further his considerable skills with a furniture making apprenticeship, and to then open his own business.

Joanna Majewska

Joanna, from the beautiful Polish capital of Warsaw, is a former graphic designer, who decided that she wanted a more practical and hands-on career.

Joanna has always had an interest in design and interior design, but came to the Chippendale school without any prior woodworking skills.

She’ll be taking to London a quirky, round drinks cabinet veneered with rosewood.  This piece utilised all her design skills and was inspired by the internal mechanism of a clock – incorporating a clever array of oak gears to open, close and lock the cabinet.

After London, Joanna will be returning to the school to take incubation space, and make the transition from furniture design student to woodworking professional.

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