Martin Grierson’s passion for UK furniture designer-makers is infectious. Granted, he’s a celebrated designer-maker himself, so a love of his craft should be a given, but shining a light on all the 200 workshops he knows of in the UK is one of his main drivers. Last year, Grierson and John Makepeace launched an annual exhibition to raise awareness of the talent among furniture makers.
The event, 21st Century Furniture II: The Arts & Crafts Legacy, opens later this month and will showcase 70 pieces created by 40 of the UK’s leading designer-makers. The selection aims to show that the spirit and ideals of the Arts and Crafts makers of the early 20th century are alive and well and being developed, for today, by today’s designer-makers, says Grierson – and expressed through new ideas and designs.
The Arts and Crafts legacy is one of honesty to materials and sound constructional principles, use of fine materials and finishes, relating furniture to people’s lives, fine craftsmanship and the use of tools, and restrained decoration.
’The exhibition will show a strong and vibrant style among 21st century furniture-makers that offers ideas, quality and solutions to problems that can never be found in the high street,’ says Grierson. ’It also shows a national style of design that is missing from the commercial internationalism of much that is available [through mass production].’
Grierson hopes to elicit ’an excitement and wonder at the quality that still exists’ among visitors. ’A desire to own something, to purchase a piece or discuss a commission.’
The selling exhibition 21st Century Furniture II: The Arts & Crafts Legacy takes place from 28 March to 25 April at The Millinery Works, 87 Southgate Road, London N1