I design and make mobile and permanent wooden vernacular buildings and interiors.
So far, they’ve found homes as cabins, writing rooms, boiler rooms, Airbnb rentals, and camper vans.
And hopefully, when the right client comes along, a treehouse or two.
To educate and inform the textures and forms I apply to buildings, I draw and create sculptures.
I also make simple furniture (though I'm no cabinet maker), and love to collect, renovate and reimagine old, discarded pieces.
I care deeply about our environment, but the very nature of creating buildings can’t help but use materials and energy. It’s about finding ways to be more mindful and responsible in how we source and apply those materials and energy.
It’s why I work with wood.
Wood is a beautiful, varied, and unique building material, for its many qualities. How it looks, how it ages, how nice it is to work with, how it smells, how it reverberates sound and heat, and for its carbon neutrality.
Using timber for projects with a short term lifespan can be a negative practice, and I do everything I can to avoid it.
Different species of trees need different periods of time to grow and therefore lock in carbon. Therefore effective carbon locking is tied to the required lifespan as a building material. It’s a complicated topic and it forces me to think about the lifespan of my projects. I build things to be cherished, and always source materials as responsibly as possible. By designing buildings to an extremely high level of detail, I take into account standard dimensions where applicable, so I can order very effectively, use everything, and create as little waste as possible. Any un avoidable leftovers tend to be taken into other projects, so everything finds its home.
Wherever possible, I recycle materials and objects. I find great joy in scouring architectural salvage, whether it’s for taps, light fittings, windows, doors, floors, tiles, or raw timber. There’s the richness of quality and style that the modern can lack, and with the added joy of restoration.
'When considered aesthetically and used sympathetically, old objects seem to retain an energetic resonance that can transfer into the rest of the building. I never use them just for the sake of it, always because its good for the environment, and compliments the building.'
This thinking also applies to the environmental impact of small buildings. Why default to filling the ground with concrete, when there are less intrusive ways to foot a building? It’s about reframing the need and the response, so the interior and exterior work in harmony.
'Highly considered interiors are more important for small spaces than their larger counterparts. My designs are inspired and informed by that. With small buildings every single square inch should be considered, and psychological space is more pressing; by creating illusions for the eye, one can increase the feeling of space without extending the footprint.'
After a childhood punctuated by Blue Peter follow-alongs, school holidays working in my parents’ garden furniture workshop, and eternally reconfiguring my bedroom layout, I got properly into my creative stride at Falmouth University, studying Fine Art: Sculpture. It gave me the freedom to explore, and I spent most of my time creating 3 dimensional spaces in which to project the sculptural films I made.
Moving to London straight after graduation, a year in production on fashion shoots and big TV commercials made me rethink seeking my fortune as a music video director.
I found I fitted much more comfortably in the art department, and went on to form SAM & ARTHUR with Arthur de Borman, a fellow Falmouth graduate.
We spent six very creative years as art directors, designing and building sets and props for music videos and TV commercials. We later got into commercial installations as well: interior design, fashion shows, pop-ups, and sculpture design, for big brands in London, Barcelona, and New York.
After 10 years in London, a different way of working and living called, and Cornwall answered. I shifted my focus to designing and making sculpturally interesting, small wooden buildings that reflect each client’s requirements, and that are built to last. And for me, it was the perfect antidote to London’s fast-pace, and the wasteful exuberance of art direction.
I spent some time working in-house at Custom, a UK based interior architecture + design company specialising in French ski chalet refurbishments, redesigning properties and learning masses about optimising space.
I went on to design and make Pentacabin 001 and Pentacabin 002, followed closely by marrying Rosa. Then with a foot finally on the property ladder we navigated the wilds of the first two years as parents with our son Otto, during which we somehow found time to renovate our home, which with it brought my next building, Boiler Room 003.