August 03 2011
Unlike the woman who “married” the Eiffel Tower, I wouldn’t describe myself as an “objectum sexual”, yet the moment I laid eyes on the rippling hunk of gorgeousness that is EJ Bespoke Furniture’s Volumptuous sideboard (first picture, £13,700), I was in love.
I’d been admiring pots, paintings and playthings during Brighton’s Artists Open Houses in May but nothing captivated me as much as this stunning piece of craftsmanship. Entirely handmade in oak with an interior lining of aromatic cedar of Lebanon, it’s Volumptuous by name, volumptuous by nature. I could barely keep my hands off it, and cringed while a little girl with a clanky bangle patted its surface rather too vigorously. Luckily, the sideboard’s creator, Edward Johnson, was there to persuade her to stop.
Charm personified, Johnson is just 26 years old, and destined for great things. He says he is “striving to be the next John Makepeace” and is all about “enduring design and exceptional craftsmanship”. He explained in loving detail how Volumptuous was made, using cutting-edge technology through 3-D veneer. The original framework was square, so he hand-shaped the laminated panels, then fumed the piece with ammonia to produce the desired shade of brown. He says: “Volumptuous is as sensuous as furniture gets, visually stimulating, enticingly tactile and beautifully scented. It speaks a thousand words about what I believe my work is about.” And it speaks eloquently: it’s been shortlisted for The Wood Awards 2011 Furniture category.
Take a look at Johnson’s website to see further examples of his work – his Easy Chair (second picture, price on request), Perpetual Bloom dining table (£11,000), limited-edition nest tables Ed, Edd & Eddy (third picture, £1,900) and Fungi drinks cabinet (price on request) are all ingenious. He takes on commissions, actively encouraging his clients to be involved and to visit him in his Sussex workshop. As far as possible, he is proactive rather than reactive when it comes to environmental and sustainability issues (he even donates a percentage of his profits to the planting of trees in schools), and each of his pieces is set with his silver-cast biometric fingerprint and dated.