READING

contemporary woodcraft

contemporary woodcraft

have you discovered the wonderful work of joined+jointed yet?

i remember the palpable anticipation in the design world when the brand first launched at the london design festival back in 2013, and since then i’ve watched the brand go from strength to strength on the back of their defined modern aesthetic, commitment to high quality materials and dedicated craftsmanship. i spoke to joined+jointed founder samuel chan recently to find out how the brand has developed such a loyal and vocal following in such a short space of time..

the innovative furniture collective is spearheaded by the prominent furniture designer, who previously established high-end bespoke furniture brand channels in 1995, which not only operates a studio-showroom on london’s kings road but also has it’s own dedicated workshop in shrewsbury. in fact, it was chan’s development of this self-owned manufacturing facility with a talented stable of master carpenters, that provided the impetus for his collaborative venture, and thus joined+jointed was born.

bringing together an ensemble of his peers and upcoming young designers whose early work had caught his discerning eye, joined+jointed was conceived as an innovative company that would place emphasis on contemporary design and meticulous craft, while introducing a new avenue of business to the furniture market. alongside designers such as simon pengally, alex hellum, henrik sørig and sean yoo, chan set about turning new design concepts into beautifully made pieces of furniture using his artisan production knowledge, offering them to customers at sensible, attainable prices.

we believe tomorrow’s classics are being imagined and created today. so we work only with designers who bring fresh inspiration to the contemporary furniture scene, resulting in a collection that’s completely new and unashamedly unique ~ samuel chan 

the designs are not mass-produced but instead made-to-order using artisanal handcraft techniques, but crucially are sold at affordable prices direct online, a unique proposition that is wholly down to chan’s in-house production line in shropshire running seamlessly alongside handcrafted production in a chinese workshop, set up by chan’s father in 2000, which adheres to the same levels of precise craftsmanship as the workshop here in the uk.

chan’s pride in his woodworker’s quality and craftsmanship is evident not only in how he talks about his skilled team, but also in the obvious quality of the design pieces presented on site. using timber from north america, the operation is kept simple by offering every product in just two finishes – oak or walnut – both of which have been sourced from a reliable sustainable timber merchant.

every design in the 200-piece strong collection has been created in close collaboration with the designer at every step of the production process, due to chan’s oversight of the production workshop. he believes this gives the collective’s designers a greater sense of autonomy when it comes to their designs, as they can trust the skills of the production team to deliver a finished piece that is as faithful to their original design concept as humanly possible.

when designers give design proposals to manufacturers, often the concept can be changed in prototyping in order to achieve the maximum profit margins. designers can often be frustrated at this, and feel corners are being cut. i always ask my designers what the most important detail in their design is, and why. then i can ensure this is a feature that is retained throughout the production process. ~ samuel chan  

speaking of simon pengally’s concave bookcase, chan told me that from a production point of view effect is incredibly difficult to achieve, but the designer insisted right from the start that the shelving should be just 10mm thick. “we needed a very good cabinetmaker with precise execution to achieve that,” chan explains, “but it was important to first understand why pengally wanted this. if we’d used a normal 15 or 18mm alternative, the whole proportion of detail would have been very different, and it was important to him that we keep the integrity of his original design.”

the final product is a breathtaking piece that is both simple and visually stimulating. from the front, there appears the simple grid-like structure of the bookshelf, but the side views tell a completely different story as it curves inward creating a majestic optical illusion. as one of the products i remember most from the brand’s launch collection in 2013, chan tells me that it remains a bestseller and is usually the most talked about piece whenever they exhibit at design fairs around the world.

that’s one of the mainstays of the collective’s ongoing vision; that every product it sells should tell a story. in fact, as you peruse the website, you are frequently presented with details on the design process that brought a particular piece to life, alongside interviews and designer profiles.

as well as the concave shelving, i’m drawn to further designs by simon pengally including the generously upholstered trident chair which strikes a boldly graphic silhouette from every angle, as well as the wood iii chair by henrik sørig, which emerged during his residency with the danish art workshops as he investigated how to make a stylish yet comfortable lounge chair using basic but meticulous woodworking.

i’m also a fan of two of the recently launched limited edition pieces for the brand; the shoe tree by beatrix ong and bunter valet by samuel chan. originally commissioned by wallpaper* magazine for its annual ‘handmade’ exhibition, which i had the pleasure of viewing whilst in milan for salone last year, shoe tree is made up of 15 individual wooden shoe boxes slotted into a central tower structure.

storing shoes is always challenging in terms of space and aesthetic, but through collaborating with samuel chan and j+j, they have created a piece that is both storage and display. ~ beatrix ong, shoe designer

chan told me that his bunter valet was designed to solve a problem he faced each morning when it came to getting ready for work. made from solid american black walnut, the functional design boasts classic craft details including visible finger joints, marquetry and hand-carved shapes, and was conceived as a practical piece of furniture for people living in smaller apartments, helping to organise everyday living.

so, which of the joined+jointed collection pieces has most piqued your interest? do you think you’ll be adding one of these beautiful designs to your home soon?


this post is in collaboration with joined+jointed, but all thoughts and opinions my own. all imagery © joined+jointed, used with permission. 


  1. Love this! Love the shape of the back of the dining chairs especially. You don’t get that detail in reproduction items!

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