Friday, 21 October 2011

Furniture Today

   I am working on 'Furniture Today Part Three', a DVD project I began in 1998. At that time it was mostly furniture 'yesterday' as Britain was drowning in its heritage through fear of the looming Millennium. Of course the title demands frequent updates as the first production was in 2006 and especially now as furniture 'today' has truly come of age.  It is a mammoth task as the field has expanded so much in just the last decade and there is fantastic work going on that is outside popular culture. It is a self-funded project, (the usual suspects rejected my requests). Nobody asked me to do it and unlike Parts One and Two when makers I approached were very responsive to submit material, I am struggling to get makers to respond. I suspect some might fear I will be too outspoken! Yes, I will be outspoken but objective and analytical. If an extremely expensive piece of furniture has technical flaws somebody should surely comment on that?  Be thankful my name isn't Jeremy Clarkson!  It is bizarre to think that conventionally film production involves a team of specialists and I am doing everything single-handed!

Self-taught film maker Jeremy Broun using a Super 8 cine camera in 1984

   There is virtually no serious in depth debate about furniture. The last broadsheet newspaper critic was Peta Levi who passed away (since I featured her in 'Furniture Today Part Two'). I suppose furniture design and woodworking is a passion of mine.
   I am struggling today to work on the project - endless hours of editing film footage, promoting the work of others, when depression drains energy. But I know, despite the struggle, I will make a good job of this update of what is a unique visual document of the best contemporary furniture being made in the British Isles (indeed some of the very best in the world) and placing it in a historical context dating back to the Magna Carta. As Churchill said 'History will be kind to me as I intend to write it'!

   The Zigzag Table by Jeremy Broun. First designed in 1978 this example made in 1984 and the last one commissioned in 2007. Each one is slightly different in size, material and detail.

'It exploits the markings of traditional manufacture, as seen in the wood joints where the top meets the legs, and it is innovative in its centre joint. Limited edition designer furniture provides the closest link between maker and user, and often results in the most interesting products'.

from 'An Encyclopedia of Tables' by Simon Yates (The Apple Press - Quintet Books) 

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