Cimmermann talk to Sarah Kay
Sarah Kay’s considered approach to the craftsmanship of her wooden furniture makes her one of our favourites. Her pieces are high quality; alongside Andrea Stemmer she is credited with designing the contemporary oak furniture for luxury hotel Cowley Manor in the Cotswold’s. She now combines working for leading manufacturers and designing residential interiors with the production of bespoke pieces. For SCP she has designed one of their best selling and fast becoming iconic Agnes shelving.
Cimmermann: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the products you design?
Sarah Kay: My background is in fine cabinet making, having studied at Parnham College in Dorset. I live in both London and rural South West France – an ideal combination of opposites. I hope that my products communicate a love and appreciation for wood. I want them to be a joy to use and look at. I make prototypes and chip away at the proportions and details until it feels right, the aim is to achieve a quiet aesthetic that balances function, use of materials and form.
C: What type of materials do you use?
SK: My expertise is in wood – and I am conscious of which types of wood, the more local the better but if it comes from abroad it must be properly certified as from a responsibly managed source. I love to learn about new materials though and have incorporated glass, leather, metal and flip-flops (no joke) in my work…
C: What are your main influences?
SK: I’m influenced by everything – art, cities, countryside, and architecture – from skyscrapers to cabins, the old and the new…
C: What have you got coming up this year? What does the future hold?
SK: I’m very excited to be going to teach at The Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine next month. I’ll be tutoring a module on designing a product for batch production. In the last couple of months I have been collaborating with Chris Eckersley on a range of cabinets. Later this year should see the installation of some very big doors I’ve designed for the entrance to a new building in St James’… I love having so many different things to work on.
C: What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
SK: Recently I joined a group of other designers on a Windsor Chair making course in the woods in Herefordshire – we did everything using hand tools from splitting logs to turning spindles using a pole lathe. Although I understood the theory behind the techniques used, you can’t beat the experience of doing it yourself.
C: Where can we go to see your work?
I show some of my bespoke pieces and small batch products through Contemporary Applied Arts (caa.org.uk) in London and at various other galleries and exhibitions at different times. The best is to check my website http://sarah-kay.co.uk/ for details.