Students’ choice student of the year launches his own business

A talented young furniture designer, who is also a member of the local mountain rescue team, is setting up a new furniture design business in Perthshire.

Colin Bate, originally from Birmingham moved north to work in outdoor education but, over the years, found himself less and less outside and more and more behind a desk.

He decided to change track and enrolled at the Chippendale International School of Furniture and, having graduated, is setting up Highwood Furniture in his adopted Alyth, to make and design furniture and bespoke kitchens.

So talented is Colin that he was voted Student’s Choice Student of the Year at the school’s recent graduation ceremony.

The Chippendale school in East Lothian takes students from around the world for its immersive furniture design courses.  This year, students came from the UK, USA, Germany, Austria, Poland, India, Singapore, South Korea and Australia.

His signature pieces include a drinks cabinet that perfectly reflects his love of nature and the outdoors, with an oak frame, elm top and a free-form tree design in spalted beech running across the front.

Another stand-out piece is a steam-bent desk in olive ash and oak which he made “to test the limits of what can be achieved with steam bending,” said Colin.

“I love the precision of furniture making, and the disciplines involved in turning a design idea into a practical piece of furniture.  But I also enjoy the creativity that goes into making a desk or cabinet into something absolutely unique,” he said.

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