Knutsford-based furniture designer Michael Carroll showcases his innovative interior designs
PUBLISHED: 09:47 09 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:47 09 October 2013
Knutsford-based furniture designer Michael Carroll is part of a new breed of artisans who are giving clients the chance to create a more exclusive interior look
Michael Carroll is one of a new breed of furniture designers helping to generate a booming industry in bespoke furniture design.
Luckily for those living in Cheshire he has chosen to make Knutsford his base for a business creating beautiful and unusual pieces to appeal to design savvy clients.
His creative new collection that includes tables, chairs and mirrors, combines natural materials such as oak, with pewter and steel giving them an edginess that is more suited to them being shown in galleries than furniture stores.
Michael considers his work craft rather than art, so it is entirely fitting he’ll be winning over new clients when he exhibits at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair which is at Spinningfields Manchester from October 10th-13th.
‘I went to university in Plymouth with the idea of being a general interior designer but I became more interested in the hands-on making process involved in furniture and it was the opportunity to do something unique which led me down that path,’ explains the 24-year-old former Knutsford High School pupil.
‘Having the freedom over the whole process and doing everything myself is what appeals to me, as well as making pieces for individuals rather than mass production.’
The creation of a piece usually begins with the materials and Michael likes to fuse man-made with natural to create really unusual designs.
‘I am influenced a lot by the industrial revolution: bridges, steam engines that sort of thing,’ he reveals.
‘I love the way they look and the way they have been assembled with all their bolts and rivets on display. Looking at the engineering of the 1800s, they actually respond to materials and are experimenting with combinations of steel and traditional materials like oak. That man-made meets natural is something that appeals to me.
Some of the pieces such as his chairs are created by melting down old pewter tankards and pouring the molten metal into chair shaped moulds, parts of which contain pieces of oak. The pewter forms around the wood and everything fuses together with eye-catching results.
‘ I tend to look at everything. Everything has an input although the one person who has really inspired me is (the sculptor) Tom Heatherwick who made that amazing centrepiece for the London Olympics and who designed the new London bus. Even though these are large scale they are examples of how to approach a problem and an understanding of the process and that influences me quite a lot. I also like design of the 1920s. But it is really hard to categorise what I do.’
At the Great Northern Contemporary Craft show, visitors will not only be able to see Michael’s bigger items but they can buy into his designs on smaller scale as he will be showing very affordable creations such as small boxes and mirrors.
‘You are definitely going to be buying something unusual and what they will be buying is something that has been made totally by me,’ he asserts.
‘There is definitely a masculine feel to the things I create. I think you’ve got to be quite bold. There’ll be nothing else like them in your house that’s certain.’
Another thing that’s guaranteed is that the process of buying from Michael will be nothing like snapping something in a conventional furniture store. But then buying is only part of the journey for clients.
‘When you come to me, you’re investing in craft really because you have to come to speak to me and work with me directly,’ explains Michael.
‘That’s what separates me from the norm. And a lot of contemporary designers creating furniture are generally to be found in the south. It isn’t so usual up here. I hope I am bringing the people of Cheshire something different.’
Naturally, he’s now looking forward to the GNCCF. Not only is it now an essential date on the design world’s calendar but, as he admits, one of the drawbacks of making furniture in your own workshop is that it can be a rather solitary business.
‘It will be really great to get some feedback and meet more customers and find out what they’ve got to say about what I’m doing.’
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair runs from October 10th-13th. For more details, visit www.greatnorthernevents.co.uk
To check out Michael’s work visit www.michaelcarrolldesign.moonfruit.com