The world of Tom Faulkner
Tom Faulkner designs and makes distinctive, elegant furniture. An award-winning British company, it is known for its beautiful, handmade tables, chairs, lighting and accessories, and its wide range of finishes.
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited along to Tom Faulkner’s workshop in Swindon.
Many people will be familiar with the showroom just down the road from us on Lots Road, however sitting within the old railway workshops in Wiltshire is where the handcrafted pieces of furniture are first created and then brought to life.
Set in amongst Brunel’s yard where the once famous Great Western Steam Trains were built, the spirit of engineering and metal working still shines on some 150 years later.
Here, each individual within the company from the CAD designer to the welder, combine their own personal talent with a pure dedication of creating beautiful furniture. This is what sets craftsmen apart from the average fabricator, its not just about achieving a high level of quality, but also an all consuming devotion to the art of furniture making.
Tom himself explained the vision he has held for 25 years and how his designs come about. The starting point for the concepts being from a simple silhouette that is then developed into 3d. This creates a simple and elegant aesthetic that ensures each pieces we see today has a timeless quality that endures. Rather than relentlessly producing new or seasonal pieces, here the furniture develops over time, developing slowly though different finishes and form. Its refreshing to see this approach as so often modern design is dictated to by the must have trend, fashion or current thread on pinterest. Instead these pieces override this, developing in a way that they themselves dictate the look.
As we weaved throughout the workshop, we were welcomed by rows of original prototypes each telling their own story and development. With some dating back 20years old, its good to see that the knowledge of trial and error is kept, retaining the wisdom base for others to learn from. As interior designers its refreshing to see, as within our subject matter so much goes forgotten or only verbally passed on from designer to designer as time passes. Even though the two creative disciplines run side by side, there are distinct differences between the two and I can’t help but think there is learnings to be had. Within interior design, the vast majority of the work is pulled together in those dramatic final moments, however I am left feeling that interior projects would benefit hugely from a greater period of ‘hand-crafting’, consisting of prototyping and mock-up developments, not just towards the end but throughout the whole project.
If you ever get the chance to visit a workshop in action, seize the opportunity! Its always a joy and never tiring to witness raw materials developing through human hands into something quite exquisite.
Written by Charlotte Ponting
Photography by Aylott + Van Tromp
Please check out Tom's fantastic work at