Independent on Sunday - Pig Bench
Following Benchmark Woodworking's success during over 20 years working in the corporate field, Sir Terence Conran and cabinet maker Sean Sutcliffe decided that there was now sufficient demand from the public to develop a range of Products for the home. "There is a growing interest in modern British furniture and a move away from what we call 'brown', in other words antique or repro styles," says Sutcliffe. Launched in spring last year, most Benchmark Furniture pieces have a classic simplicity which allows the quality of the wood and the carpentry to speak for itself, but others are more geometrically complex, such as the Shadow Bed with its intricate comb of slats, uplit for effect.
The company is keen to invest in future talent. "We've got people who came here as apprentices aged 15 and have stayed with us for 20 years," explains Sutcliffe. "We always say that our best tools are our hands." New designers have been brought on board from British design schools and from as far a field as Japan. Typical prices range from £395 for a side table, to Steuart Padwick's suede-covered bench (below) at £850 and a pewter and zinc clad table by Terence Conran for £3,350 (www.benchmarkfurniture.com).