Tom Cooper

Furniture, Wood

Developing a keen interest in modern sculpture while studying art and design foundation at Northampton’s Nene College, it would have seemed natural to continue sculpture at degree level at one of London’s prestigious art colleges, but, with a yearning for a more grounded outlet for his creativity, Tom decided in 1997 to study furniture design at Edinburgh Art College.

After graduating with a BA honours in 2001 and a period of working at Edinburgh’s Lawson’s Timber yard, he set up his own furniture making business, establishing a workshop in the beautiful grounds of Newbattle Abbey, Dalkeith, just outside Edinburgh.

Since then his business has gone from strength to strength, establishing an extensive portfolio of work and developing a beautifully elegant style of furniture that has attracted many notable clients, including: The Royal College of Surgeons; Dunfermline Abbey; the daughter-in-law of Scottish colourist, Samuel Peploe; Innis and Gunn brewery; and Edinburgh’s Lord Provost.

Tom’s approach to furniture designing and making is quite specific, since for him, each example is not merely a functional object, but also a stylish, beautiful sculpture. His hallmark is an incredibly meticulous attention to detail and a sustained endeavour to achieve the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality in construction.

Designing and making furniture to me is not only about fulfilling a practical need, but is also about an artistic and aesthetic expression.

I see bespoke furniture as useful, usable sculpture which enriches people’s homes and lives, with the added bonus of serving a function. It encourages feelings of comfort, ergonomic satisfaction and tactile enjoyment and warmth, just from touching the beautiful Scottish woods that I use.

I’m completely inspired by the combination of the grain and patterns in these woods, along with the shapes and forms found in nature. I love to incorporate flowing organic lines, highlighted with original design details.

The challenge comes from marrying these fluid shapes with a consideration for practical purpose. The furniture has to be both aesthetically appealing and a pleasure to use, and that comes from meticulous attention to detail and continual efforts to achieve the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality in construction.

Tom Cooper