Keep. It. Simple. Accidental product & furniture design wizard Tom Faulkner does just that when he starts on a new concept. Faulkner is a well-known brand across the UK and is lately making its mark overseas as well. Tom Faulkner, the founder & chief designer, despite not having had any formal training, found himself being drawn to creating furniture that was different, bold, and stylistic in his early 20s. 

He has spent years experimenting with the possibilities of metal in furniture design. His studio in London is famous for its distinctive, bespoke, trademark pieces that exude clean lines, a play of geometry & lack of unnecessary ornament. 

With a repository of items that add class to contemporary or traditional settings alike, Faulkner is a gifted artist with a dab hand. His work is inspired by architecture; let’s take a look at some signature pieces from his collection and how lines & proportions can turn into something beautiful.

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Tom Faulkner_©Alun Callender

1. Lily Side Table

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©Tom Faulkner

Inspired by the delicate forms of a lily pad, this table shows how simple shapes in nature can work on a functional basis. With the choice of finishes ranging between marble, steel, and bronze, its versatility is not just limited to its look, but its purpose as well. It occupies less space and can be moved around easily, becoming a nightstand, a coffee table, or a garden piece, as the user chooses. Lily tables can fit right in with modern, minimal settings.

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Easy to carry, the Lily Table can be placed in any space & would fit right in_©Interiors by Bibiana
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A variety of finishes offers many options to choose from_©Tom Faulkner

2. Vienna Chair

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Vienna Chair ©Tom Faulkner

Designed to catch your eye with its interesting shape, Tom Faulkner combines Art Nouveau curves with the finesse of mid-century Modern style with this chair. The form of its steel legs & armrests exhibit dynamism. A varied choice of upholstery, such as different colours of leather or any other suitable fabric, makes it customizable to suit the decor of any space. Details such as having fabric on the armrest are what elevates the design, making it practical while being beautiful to look at.

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Group of Vienna chairs adding a pop of color to a neutral palette_©Tom Faulkner
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An ergonomic design_©Tom Faulkner

3. Lily Mirror

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©Tom Faulkner

From the Lily collection comes another coveted piece of decor, the Lily Mirror. Shaped as a lily pad, the frame is made from malleable metals such as steel or bronze that can be forged into artistic forms. With the market being saturated with simple rectangular or oval-shaped mirrors, adding an eccentric item to the interior works well. Fixing a group of Lily mirrors on a plain or textured wall and accentuating them with ambient light could become the highlight the room needs.

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A simple, but effective design in the Gold-finished Lily Mirror_©Tom Faulkner
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The curved form of the mirror complements the simple geometry of the console table_©Tom Faulkner

4. Angel Chair

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Angel chair ©Tom Faulkner

Sleek, modern, and distinctive in its design, the Angel Chair defines elegance. Unlike most chairs, it has only 2 front legs for support, with the seat being cantilevered. Achieving balance is crucial in cantilevered forms; the gradual widening and narrowing form of the steel/brass legs correspond with changing pressure points from the weight above. 

Finished in Faulkner’s trademark choice of materials, it defies traditional understanding of geometry and physics, while at the same time being a functioning piece of furniture.

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Used as dining chairs in a minimal setting completes the classy look of this interior_©Lauren Atkins, Malins Group
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Playing with geometry_© Tom Faulkner

5. Atlantic Dining Table

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©Tom Faulkner

A basic shape paired with unusual geometry is what transforms the ordinary into something special. The Atlantic Table is just that and more. A steel base is mounted with a ply-board whose anti-scratch & anti-fingerprint veneer surface gives a soft look to the tabletop. The design pushes boundaries of experimental techniques; the oval shape of the legs evenly distributes the load from the veneer-finished top. 

A dark walnut lipping adds to the charms of minimal curves balanced with the linearity of the top, making this table ideal for use in kitchens and heavy-duty dining spaces.

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The Atlantic Table used with benches designed in the same theme_©Tom Faulkner
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Gentle curves of the legs seen up-close_©Tom Faulkner

6. Hug Pendant Lamp 

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©Tom Faulkner

With a form that mirrors its name, the Hug Pendant is a contemporary piece of art that enlivens a space, be it large or small, with its warm interior glow and luminous exterior sheen. Cocooned in a strong aluminium sheet hand-rolled by skilled craftsmen, the soft light gently bounces off the inner surface. Its asymmetric geometry and the finishes being different for the interior & exterior of the sheet are choices that Faulkner seems to have consciously made. 

A sense of Origami can be felt in its form, reminiscent of the uncluttered Japanese lifestyle. The simple yet elegant design is ideal for an urban chic, modern space.

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Modern shapes work well together in this dining room setting_©Tom Faulkner
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The Hug Light in a light-colored finish_©tomfaulkner

7. Echo Console Table 

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©Tom Faulkner

Another item recalling the complex folds of Origami art is the Echo table. The graphic nature of the legs flaunts strong, dramatic lines that twist & turn gracefully to support the glass at the summit. Inspired by Tom’s trip to the Arctic, the table is more of a sculpture than furniture in its essence. Steel is undoubtedly the perfect material to model the legs with as the design demands crisp lines, sharp angles, and complex turns. 

A horizontal tie holds the two folded legs together, allowing the table to maintain its slenderness while being able to take heavy loads. Paired with minimal accessories, it can be used as the focus feature in the hallway or entrance foyer.

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A 3D delight, the Echo table exhibits precision from every angle_©Tom Faulkner
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Steel base finished in cool grey gives a soothing contrast to dark interior tones_©Tom Faulkner

8. Berlin Easy Chair

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©Tom Faulkner

The ergonomic shape of this lounge chair is designed to provide maximum comfort. The sleek frame made of 12mm water-cut steel plates is upholstered with oak-bark tanned leather. The leather undergoes a rigorous tanning process over many months, after which it is finished by hand & meticulously hand-stitched into shape. With over 1000 stitches in a single chair, this is no easy feat of construction! 

The edgy design brings together two age-old materials in a modern interpretation of craftsmanship, with careful attention to detail. Perfect for a reading nook or seating lounge, this durable chair will undoubtedly become everyone’s favourite perch.

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The Berlin Chair suits any ambience, bright or moody_©Tom Faulkner
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Joint detail, Berlin Chair_©Tom Faulkner

9. Ava Round Dining Table

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©Tom Faulkner

Tom Faulkner is perhaps best known for his mastery over fluid geometric shapes, embodied in every inch of the Ava Table’s silhouette. The table’s marble top seems to be floating on an intriguingly designed base with 2 intersecting tetrahedrons, but in actuality, it is made of 2 plates welded together to create the overall geometry. The pedestal can be of steel or patinated bronze, giving it a classical look. 

At first glance, the Ava Table might appear to be of simple construction, but its engineering is complex, hard to understand where & how each piece connects to the other. The table grabs immediate attention when used in a hallway or dining; its contrasting geometry is sturdily brought together in timeless appeal.

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Close up of the table base in patinated bronze_©Tom Faulkner
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This table exudes visual trickery with 2 tetrahedrons seemingly balanced on each other – creating a thin neck that would surprise anyone with how much weight it could support _©Tom Faulkner

10. Papillon Screen 

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©Tom Faulkner

If art mimics nature, Tom Faulkner is the artist who channels that nature into everything he does. The Papillon Screen is the embodiment of mesmerizing beauty in simplicity. Finding inspiration in the ‘shapes created by the lines between the enormous boulders at Joshua Tree’ (Faulkner,2020), he sought to replicate them in his designs. Using water-cut aluminium as the base material due to its malleability, he successfully achieved the sinewy forms reminiscent of the veins of a butterfly. 

The massing creates a delightful interplay between solids and voids. Papillon screens are available in a range of deftly hand-painted ombre finishes that fade into each other seamlessly, similar to the colour transitions in the wings of a butterfly! The dash of technicolour gives off a psychedelic vibe & brings a past trend back into style. 

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Foldable wings & merging hues play with light, creating a sense of drama_©Tom Faulkner
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The aluminum base frame being prepared in a workshop_©Tom Faulkner

References

Tom Faulkner. (n.d.). Tom Faulkner | Modern & Contemporary Handmade Furniture. [online] Available at: https://www.tomfaulkner.co.uk [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

thedesignsoc.com. (n.d.). » Designer In Profile: Tom Faulkner – Founder at Tom Faulkner. [online] Available at: http://thedesignsoc.com/designer-profile-tom-faulkner-founder-tom-faulkner/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

Hollace Cluny. (n.d.). Hollace Cluny – Top Toronto Design Destination. [online] Available at: https://www.hollacecluny.ca/search?s=tom+faulkner [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

‌Focus/21 | Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. (n.d.). Tom Faulkner. [online] Available at: https://www.dcch.co.uk/focus/house-guests/tom-faulkner/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

Inspirations and Ideas. (2018). Best Hotel Dining Table – Ava Table By Tom Faulkner. [online] Available at: https://brabbucontract.com/inspirations-and-ideas/design-pieces/best-hotel-dining-table-ava-table-by-tom-faulkner/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

‌Walters, K. (2020). Explore Tom Faulkner’s Lustrous Papillon Furniture Collection. [online] aspire design and home. Available at: https://aspiremetro.com/papillon-collection/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2021].

Author

As an architect, designing gives Varsha an insight into what she truly enjoys - observing people & the complex, interwoven layers of society. She may be a sceptic, but has the soul of a wanderer. She reads (mostly Harry Potter) to escape the mundane & is now exploring her writing.

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