STATEMENT OF INTENT / AUTUMN/WINTER 2015 / ISSUE THREE / NOTES MAGAZINE
Partner Mark Lee, Architect and Head of Interiors at ONE17, has developed a collection of furniture, many of which began life as bespoke commissions for the interiors he has designed
The new DYEHOUSE range of furniture and homeware designed by ONE17 partner Mark Lee was born out of his enthusiasm and excitement in designing individual bespoke pieces of furniture for ONE17 projects that properly complemented the architecture and interiors designed by the practice.
Over a period of time Mark came to realise that these pieces designed for one project would often work beautifully in other ONE17 schemes, and if that was the case, why should they not work just as well in interiors designed by others? In other words the pieces had traction on their own account, not solely as part of a ONE17 project. Using the items previously designed as a starting point, Mark developed a range of furniture and smaller items that is now available under the DYEHOUSE name.
What makes them of interest with regard to our continuing focus on British manufacture is that all the furniture and homeware is produced in conjunction with a number of local craftspeople whose skill and knowledge of both techniques and materials has contributed hugely to the success of the range. “Developing a design is a two way process” acknowledged Mark. “They educate me about certain processes and I push them to achieve results outside their usual comfort zone.”
Anyone familiar with ONE17’s residential projects will see a common approach in the DYEHOUSE range with an appreciation and understanding of the characteristics and properties of key materials such as steel and timber very much at the heart of the designs. Scale, proportion, quality of detail and finish allied to an undoubted presence is common to the entire range. These are statement pieces.
Whilst any one piece makes a bold declaration, many have been designed to work beautifully in combination. Thanks to the longevity and timeless design of the pieces, a collection can be assembled over a number of years. This is not fashion conscious furniture; it is likely to remain in place for many years as trends change around it.
Outdoor pieces such as the firepits and planters are made from solid sheet steel that will stand up to the rigours of the British climate winter after winter. Moreover they are of a scale that is not dwarfed by the great outdoors. “Nobody wants to be replacing something like a firepit every other year” said Mark “and as a focal point in a garden or on a terrace it should be big enough to command attention.”
A love of natural materials is at the core of the range: steel, timber – particularly European Oak – bronze, glass and leather are the fundamental constituents. What at first appear to be simple details, such as the way a steel leg is terminated, or the joint detail in the frame of a mirror will be the result of a long painstaking process, a dialogue between designer and craftsman. A local precision engineering company crafted the bronze swing handles for the STOR and TALUS stools, which consist of no fewer than eight separate components.
This cannot be appreciated from photographs. There is no substitute for experiencing the pieces in the flesh; at the moment a selection of the DYEHOUSE range is on show on the top floor gallery of Rita Britton’s new venture, The Tobacco Warehouse, in Barnsley. Go and have a look and see for yourself. Whilst you’re there, take in Rita’s Nomad Atelier range of clothing, other exhibitions that may be on and then fortify yourself with a cuppa in the café.
The venture has been so well received that the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is now displaying a FALL bench from the range.
There is an honesty and deceptive simplicity about DYEHOUSE furniture that Mark attributes in part to his experiences as he has travelled around the world: “I enjoyed a classic architectural training that made me appreciate basics like form and balance but it has been seeing how different cultures and countries approach design – as well as some truly awful examples - that has given me the confidence to present the relatively simple, well thought out and elegantly put together designs of the DYEHOUSE range. Sometimes you have to travel to understand the quality and value of what you have at home.”
The range will undoubtedly continue to develop but the use of natural materials and local craftsmanship to make the pieces will surely be a constant. Watch out for further items soon.