Guild Anderson Furniture announces Alex Rose’s appointment to the company earlier this year as Trainee Furniture Designer.
Alex graduated with a BA in Furniture from the well-respected Bucks New University in High Wycombe, the traditional centre of furniture making. This course placed particular emphasis on design theory and practical experience. Industry placements gave students first hand experience of different furniture manufacturers and manufacturing techniques and students were encouraged to develop their own design styles.
Sadly, the course has since closed due to the intensive running costs of workshop facilities and tutoring needed to teach contemporary furniture design and manufacture. Few apprenticeship courses still exist in the UK today offering the same combination of theory and practical design work and the closure of the course was a further loss to the furniture design industry. Alex describes how fundamental his training was to his job today. He strongly believes the core of bespoke cabinetry design needs to be supported by a thorough understanding of the technical demands of manufacturing, as much as by style concepts.
On graduating, Alex was recruited to join Devol Kitchens as a kitchen designer then project manager. From here, Alex joined the growing design team at Guild Anderson Furniture early in 2017. What interested him in his new role at the Wiltshire cabinetmakers, was above all their core strength for original fine furniture design.
Alex explains ‘What set Guild Anderson apart is the range and scope of their cabinetry project experience. The company’s workshop is rare in its ability to produce something traditional as well as a complete original, a one-off. Clients will often ask us to design something or request an unusual material as the project progresses. This is the best of bespoke design: a creative environment where designer and client meet to produce something truly personal. We’re not afraid to try new things as we have such a breadth of technical knowledge within the company and are able to work out how best to achieve a solution as a team. No two projects are ever the same, which is incredibly exciting for us as much as for our clients.”
Alex also attributes Guild Anderson’s success and development as a business to the high level of commitment given to each client and project. Alex comments, “The main difference I see is in the approach to design. Projects here are simply more personal – good service and communication is at the heart of the company. Guild Anderson’s design team follow a project all the way through the workshop, from production to installing on site. The time taken is real – not a modular build from a catalogue, like many companies in the industry.“
Alex goes on to describe what he most values about his role since starting at Guild Anderson this spring. Understanding and interpreting a client’s wishes is a fundamental part of their designwork. “Clients often have good ideas as a basis for a design but won’t know exactly how best to put them together for a coherent finish. This is what we are here for. Guild Anderson would never simply present thirty options to a client and expect them to choose one. As designers, this would be doing the customer a disservice. Giving our time and talking things through allows us to better understand from a practical point of view what is needed, guiding them to the solution they most prefer.”
He concludes, “From a design perspective, it is also far more rewarding for a client to be involved all the way through from the very early stages of a project and not just presented with plans to fill with blocks of cabinetry. Many of our projects are designed for family homes and much of our design work is about sociability – creating a personal solution for the family and the way they like to live. As bespoke designers, the Guild Anderson approach means we are there throughout, making the transition for the client from design to completed renovation a very personal journey.”
Since Alex joined the company, Guild Anderson have recruited a new apprentice to join their apprenticeship scheme and a new Furniture Maker to the workshop. As a growing company in a specialist industry, Nick Anderson says they are always looking for interesting people. Enquiries for new projects or job openings should be addressed to Nick Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guild Anderson Furniture: T 01747 820 449 / www.guildanderson.co.uk / design@guildandersonfurniture