Re-inventing woodwork, with a very light touch, more resilience and much less energy.
Comfort & Posture

How the chair supports you, where, with how much friction, how much does the chair’s structure get in the way of free movement? But I find what really makes a difference is a structure that yields just enough, a strong flexible structure. Part of long-term comfort is about constant slight movement; this reduces pressure points on the body that are a primary cause of discomfort. This way, although relaxed, your body is still alive.

I take every opportunity to ask people their opinion of my chair's comfort, particularly Alexander Technique Teachers and physiotherapists, both of whom emphasize the link between posture and comfort. I also spend a lot of time sitting in them myself.

Eco Design and Sustainability

Sustainable development is for me far the most interesting (and probably the most important) challenge of our time. Eco-Friendly Design has a significant part to play. What might a sustainable world look like?

Firstly, an object that continues to work well and delight you has the best chance of being sustained. Materials, manufacturing method, supply chain, and worthwhile employment are all contributors to a sustainable future.


Why Wood?

Environmentally, wood stands head-and-shoulders above other structural materials because it is renewable, and growing it absorbs atmospheric carbons. For resilient strength, the favourite is ash; not only is it amongst the toughest, but remarkably, the faster it grows, the stronger it is, and it absorbs more atmospheric carbons than any other tree (along with Douglas Fir). It is the preferred timber for steam bending. Our fast-grown ash is UK-sourced. Some of the best material comes from trees, which fits modern best forestry practice very well.

Manufacturing Methods

Steam Bending & Rivets

O range combines the ancient craft of steam bending (more…), with an entirely new jointing method, our original and registered Tubular Rivets which greatly increase strength (more…) and through the use of the latest developments in band saw technology, an ingenious method of removing a whole machining process which is both energy intensive , noisy and boring.

Energy Reduction

Using a new generation of band saw blades, the machine planing process and its dust extraction, both energy intensive, noisy and boring processes are removed. Wood wastage is reduced. The wood’s surface has a lovely woody texture. (more…)

Durability

By happy coincidence, for a chair which supports a moving load (you), a flexible structure that yields is very much stronger than a rigid one. Just what you want for comfort. In combination with Tubular Rivets and a triangulated geometry, the result is exceptionally strong and light.

Wood is consistent from the outside in and is therefore less prone to unsightly damage than materials that rely on a surface finish for their appearance and preservation. Most wooden products also get some sort of sprayed lacquer finish; the more of it there is, finally the less durable the object will be, as the substrate, the wood, has poor resistance to point loads (them again), and if dented, the lacquer will fail. Our solution for chairs and table frames is borrowed from the Scandinavians, and has proved very successful. Soap, the right sort, in water solution, is applied by hand with a cloth. The soap finish has the additional benefits of not changing the wood's colour and being very easy to maintain.

A Chair by David Colwell

David Colwell is an award-winning and widely-exhibited furniture designer, producing a range of modern furniture using eco-friendly techniques and sound structural design. This site shows the range of furniture available, how you can buy it, and explains the ideas behind it and the techniques used in its manufacture.