For anyone looking for furniture with a true feel of the maker’s hand, then Tim Germain’s work is, well, germane. He is a “one-man band” who designs and makes all his own furniture – hence each piece is a one-off. Originality combines with often simple, but always strong, designs that let the beauty of the materials used shine through.
Germain can be commissioned to make almost anything, including birch-ply or solid wood, metal and glass desks and tables. A standout piece is an ingenious, amusing bookcase that would pique even the most apathetic child’s interest in literature; it has a run of marbles along the front edge of each shelf – these shelves sit on a pivot so that when a tome is removed, the balance is upset and the shelf tips, sending marbles running along their groove.
Although he always puts his own mark on his work, Germain is keen to “incorporate something of the client into it so that it is not just made for them but designed for them too”. The personal touch starts with a visit to the client and the site of the proposed piece. After several consultations, thumbnail sketches and perhaps some larger drawings or a scale model (for a small fee), a design is settled upon. If it involves solid, sustainable timber – on which Germain is particularly keen and which is sourced locally (he can provide provenance details) – he rough-cuts the components and leaves them for some six months to move, twist, cup and bow before machining. It’s worth the wait – and clients are encouraged to see the construction under way. Germain himself delivers the finished piece, and even gets in touch six months later to ensure there has been no shrinkage (sometimes an issue with solid English timber).
Works cost from £1,000, depending on design and materials; an elegant, modern take on the desk in spalted English beech, oak, coppered steel and glass (similar to that pictured) would cost about £8,000.