As a special-effects maestro for movies such as Batman, Harry Potter and Star Wars, prop-maker Craig Narramore develops dazzling new creations for each project. So it seemed a natural step to apply his ideas to a different medium when “resting” between films. Having acquired some practical cabinet-making skills from his uncle, a Toronto-based furniture-maker and restorer, he now creates highly unusual, bespoke furniture that’s attracting Hollywood A-listers, among other clients.
Narramore describes furniture-making as being in his blood, yet it was his experience in movies that led him to transfer prop-making techniques to cabinetry. “Working in films offers great experimental opportunities,” he tells me from the set of the new Warner Bros adaption of Peter Pan. “We use a lot of liquid metals, resins and polymers to create different finishes for the props, so I started applying these coatings to large, organic chunks of timber and people seem intrigued by this combination.”
Recent designs include the Chrisom table (£7,800, second picture), made from spalted elm that has had its raw edges coated in a “lava” created from a coloured, resin-based material. Similarly the Rufous table (£5,200, first picture) is made from burr oak with a crimson “lava” coat. “The applied resin gives it a very tough, yet flexible finish – encasing, shrouding and fortifying its form,” says Narramore. Meanwhile, liquid metal was used to fill the natural cracks in two solid slabs of spalted beech to create the Copper Paragon dining table (£12,000) and a hefty hunk of English walnut was fused with liquid aluminium for the Cascade dining table (£19,700).
Each characterful piece of timber is personally sourced by Narramore and the finished designs carry his trademark signature. His Monumental table (from £9,500) is made from a patchwork of burr oak, cedar, lime and beech “stitched” together with liquid-bronze details, while the burr-oak Coalesce table (£10,400) is fused with liquid bronze. “Tables are the most popular commissions because they remain practical while entering the realms of art,” he says. Still, his Union Slab storage seat (£4,200, third picture) is made from a fine chunk of English elm with a hinged seat and he also makes eye-catching wall pieces, such as the circular elm and bronze Hercules sculpture (£3,500). And one client commissioned an oak mantel fused with copper (£5,500) for a fireplace. Art collectors and furniture connoisseurs, rejoice.