Take a Seat
This year we have been lucky enough to be part of the SSLP (Southwark Schools Learning Partnership) Creative Hub project, Take A Seat. Anne-Elizabeth and Rhoda (Year 12 Product Design students) worked with bespoke furniture designer Tom Faulkner and interior designer Nicola Burt in exploring their own creativity to design a chair. Eleven students from across the SSLP schools have had intensive workshops with design professionals, been on visits to KLC School of Design, visited Tom Faulkner’s showroom in Chelsea as well as his Swindon studios where the furniture is hand made.
A highlight has been the visit to Tom’s studios in Swindon where they spent the day learning how the handmade furniture is produced, from the design process through to manufacture, finishing, assembly and finally transportation. It was a fantastic opportunity where they got to speak with professional welders and finishers, learning tricks and techniques that they use every day to achieve the best quality outcome. The students turned their hand to using a range of machines and equipment including MIG welding which all thoroughly enjoyed.
Both Rhoda and Anne-Elizabeth created excellent designs which meticulously followed the design brief and are full of flair and creativity. They were tasked with producing a case study of Toms work to help influence their designs while at the same time bringing in their own design styles. The winning design across all the schools was to be made into a full size prototype which would be unveiled at a private viewing.
A mixture of excitement and apprehension filled both students and teachers alike as we attended the event at Bell House in Dulwich. The winning chair veiled in black fabric stood proudly in a corner as guests circulated the exhibition admiring the work of all the students involved. The outline of the chair masked by the cloth helped us narrow it down to about half the entries but is was the outstanding and beautiful design produced by our own Anne-Elizabeth which was finally revealed. The announcement by Tom Faulkner himself was met with rapturous applause from the whole room and the joyous reaction from Anne-Elizabeth made for an emotional moment. Anne-Elizabeth proudly stood by her chair for the lengthy photo call that followed. Both Anne-Elizabeth and Rhoda’s family were also at the unveiling and joined us in this exceptionally proud moment for both students.
The chair, along with supporting work will soon be on display in school and will stay with us through to Arts Evening in the summer. Anne-Elizabeth has also been invited to speak at next years SSLP launch, along with her exquisite chair. It was also a great surprise for our winner to be told that she gets to keep the chair which Tom made.
As a department we are still beaming with pride and will not tire of telling all the students we teach about the success of our wonderful year 12 students.
A word from Anne-Elizabeth;
Last term myself and 10 other students were given a wonderful opportunity by the SSLP to enter Tom Faulkner’s Take a Seat competition to design a chair that would fit in with his design principles. Over the space of 5 weeks we were tasked with coming up with a dining chair design that both represented us, and the winning design would be made into an actual physical chair… And I won! I took inspiration from my favourite design movement Art Deco, which can be seen in the legs and back supports of my chair. All in all it was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.