Martin Spencer - Maker
Martin Spencer - Maker



I have lived, worked and travelled in Scandinavia and been constantly inspired by the elegance and simplicity of their design. I graduated with distinction from the Furniture Making Diploma course at West Dean College and now work at the John Lloyd Furniture workshop in Sussex.  I only make chairs that are designed uniquely for each client.


Chairs can be very personal and if they are individually designed, will look and feel ‘right’ to the sitter. These principles are best captured by the 'organic functionalism' of mid twentieth century Scandinavian design.   This combined an interest in the organic nature of the individual and the material, as well as the functionality of the piece. This resulted in design that achieved simplicity and honest beauty. One of the key designers of this movement was Hans Wegner, a master carpenter first and designer second, whose many chair designs continue to inspire.


In my pieces, I aim to combine the organic form of wood with the functional requirements of comfort, practicality and purpose.  The natural contours of patina, unique on each tree, can be shaped to accentuate and complement the natural form of the user, and can be celebrated by crafting seats from whole, solid pieces of timber.  Chairs and tables are there to be touched, felt and used. I landscape the contact points; the arms, the back rest and the seat and contrast these with the harder structural components.   I draw attention to joints by making a feature out of changes in grain direction and highlighting the joint with a contrasting timber.  This creates interesting visual illusions as straight and parallel lines appear to curve and diverge with the contours of the landscaped components of the chair. I keep the design simple, exclude unnecessary detailing, and remove any wood that is not needed.  The aim is for elegant, simple, organic furniture that celebrates the meeting of wood and individual.


I use only English hardwoods, primarily walnut, oak, elm, cherry, ash, sycamore, yew and beech and finish my pieces in organic natural plant based oils.




Martin Spencer