TALL TIMBER FURNITURE
Martin Bowen & Guy Paramore
“Quality means a great deal to me. Combine that with good design and beautiful timber and you can elevate craft to art.”
Martin builds new but loves old. He can distinctly recall as a young boy being so impressed with the furniture made by his grandfather that he knew then and there that, he too, would be a cabinetmaker. Martin is very proud of the fact that he still owns all the furniture that his grandfather had made for the family home.
At fifteen, he left school and worked for two Launceston furniture factories for the next twenty-six years. Having attained a high level of skills he then bought this employer’s factory in 2004 and creating his own company, Tall Timbers.
Although Tall Timbers accepts private commissions, its main core of business is making quality chairs, bedroom, dining and occasional furniture - all of solid timber.
In recent times, Martin has been encouraged by Designed Objects Tasmania and the Design Centre Tasmania to work in collaboration with local designers. To date this partnership has resulted in production of the ‘Kink’, a timber dining chair designed by Rye Dunsmuir and a table designed by Guy Paramore. It’s a new area of endeavor for Martin but as an independent furniture manufacturer he is committed to seeking new ventures in niche markets that will ensure that, not only is a high standard of quality of product maintained, but that the factory continues to be sustainable.
While Martin the businessman works hard to keep the company vibrant in these uncertain times, Martin the maker has never faltered in his love affair with cabinet making.
“If you think about it, more often than not, it’s your grandchildren that inherit your furniture. This thought informs the way I approach the furniture I make – it’s got to last the distance. When I look at old furniture and see something that’s been around for, perhaps, hundreds of years, there’s no excuse why I can’t make the same quality. A quality piece of furniture becomes like a family heirloom, something to be treasured not discarded because it has not been made to last. Today, more than ever, with the growing importance of having products that are sustainable, there is a real need for quality.
Lately, I’ve begun working in partnership with local designers. It’s still early days but it’s something I hope can be worked out to the mutual benefit of all. It would be great to create a niche market that encouraged the return of more artisans to the furniture industry. I know that would make my grandfather very proud.”
The Kink timber dining chair was developed in 2011 as part of a pilot project through a partnership between Design Centre Tasmania and Tall Timbers Furniture. The aim was to achieve a high quality contemporary dining chair that could be produced within the framework of the factory’s production process ensuring the best possible efficiency and economy. The Kink has been made using waste timbers resulting from current production practices. The success of this initial Kink project has resulted in a commitment to further development over the next two years.
Flat pack hay rake table
This table was the result of Designed Objects Tasmania working in collaboration with manufacturer Tall Timbers and designer Guy Paramore as part of a project aimed at connecting Tasmanian designers with Tasmanian manufacturers and develop market viable product. In response to Tall Timbers request for a dining table that needed to be solid timber and to be flat packed, Guy designed a table that draws on an early 20th century English Arts and Crafts movement table style designed and built in England called a ‘hay-rake’. The table is made of Tasmanian Oak with distinctive features that include a base (legs) set at an angle and the tabletop cut corners that immediately draw you in.
DESIGN ISLAND PRODUCT SELECTION
'KINK' Timber Dining Chair by Rye Dunsmuir
MATERIALS: Tasmanian Oak and Upholstery
DIMENSIONS (mm): 450 x 470 x 800
'HAY RAKE' Table
MATERIALS: Tasmanian Oak and Steel
DIMENSIONS (mm): 1000 x 730 x 2100
TALL TIMBERS FURNITURE