Sharing of knowledge: Professional Development for designers

Our showroom was buzzing with 40 interior designers last week for our first Professional Development Day in collaboration with Fermoie and Secto Design

Tom Helme from Fermoie kicked off the day with a talk about colour in paint and printed textiles. The discussion centered on the fascinating portfolio of one of the greatest 20th Century English Decorators, John Fowler and his work for the National Trust. Fowler used his great knowledge of 18th century art, textiles and ceramics to inform his colour mixing (there were no colour cards and sample pots to select from in those days) and created great depth of colour by applying glazes/washes to build up the colour. Fowler was very sensitive to the impact of colours on each other and it was interesting to hear that he would insist that whole rooms be painted in white before colours could be approved. Fermoie have used Fowler’s colour records as inspiration for their fabrics, using the technique of building up layers and dragging colours to give depth and texture to achieve an “evenly uneven” effect with a lightness of touch.

Pekka Strommer, on behalf of Secto Design, followed with an illuminating(!) discussion on LED lighting. With a life expectancy of 30 years and far superior energy efficiency, this is an important area for designers to get to grips with. We learnt about kelvins and lumens and their impact on the colour and brightness of light. The effect of LED’s in red rooms (they look terrible!) was highlighted along with the general quality/colour of light.  Pekka acknowledged that due to lack of industry regulation there is a big difference between high and lower quality LED’s but, in his view, LED lights will give as good a light as standard incandescent lights within the next five years.

Benchmark’s Sean Sutcliffe ended the trio of talks with a lively and energetic discussion about timber. Sean talked about the character, grain, colour and texture of the timbers on display in the showroom such as the more well- known maple, cherry, walnut and oak as well as the lesser known brown oak, apple wood and rippled (also know as fiddle back) sycamore. He explained about moisture and the need to design pieces that allow for movement . He urged us to consider ash which in his view “is the best wood on the planet” especially as we will lose 80% over the next five years due to ash dieback, and implored us to think about the sustainability of our timber choices. The talk finished with a bang with Sean hitting one of the tables with a hammer and demonstrating to the audience how to steam out the dent, illustrating the robustness and practicality of timber furniture.

Lunch in the garden, tours of the workshop and the opportunity to talk in detail to the experts made this a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day. We hope to run these Development Days on a regular basis. Please email us, if you would like to register your interest.


Posted on: 14th July, 2014 By: Benchmark Category: Events & Exhibitions