John Makepeace at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum
Fine UK furniture maker John Makepeace is exhibiting his work in various exhibitions this year and next. Makepeace’s furniture can be seen in two exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London: from September 6, 2011 to January 2, 2012 in The Power of Making; and from March 31 to August 12, 2012 in British Design 1948-2012—Innovation in the Modern Age.As if that weren’t enough, From March 16 to April 15, 2010, a retrospective of his work entitled Enriching the Language of Furniture toured major galleries across the UK, showed over 50 years’ worth of Makepeace pieces.
Millennium Chair. Designed by John Makepeace.
Sculptural Woodwork by Noted UK Furnituremaker
Makepeace has a passion for creating “masterpieces that enrich people’s lives and the language of furniture.” Inspired by solving problems in sculptural ways that nonetheless remain functional, Makepeace has been crafting fine wood furniture for five decades. His chairs, tables, and cabinets are all unique and evocative. For example, his Millennium Chair, made of English holly and leather, has a back that resembles the complex workings of a suspension bridge. Makepeace’s Mulberry Table, one of a series of large leaf tables, turns mulberry and polished bronze into an organic and sinuous conversation piece. Created to mark the Tsunami, the Wave Table of aluminum and bog oak, features a sculptural base that mimics the powerful yet beautiful waves responsible for such large-scale destruction. And Makepeace’s playful cabinets are also worthy of attention. His Eighteen Chest is a numerical puzzle: the bottom three drawers are three times as deep as the top ones, and the wide drawers three times the width.
If you have the chance to see John Makepeace’s furniture in person, do so (a visit to the V&A never hurt anyone). His work is never the same, due to his complex aesthetic philosophy: “My designs are rooted in a long-standing fascination with our physical and psychological needs, the properties of different timbers and the way technology and individual craftsmanship enable new possibilities.”
About the Designer: John Makepeace designs unique furniture pieces in wood. He began his career at age eleven, when he first saw fine furniture being crafted; later, as a teen, he visited great cabinet makers in Copenhagen. Makepeace is a founding member of the Crafts Council in the UK and a Trustee of the V&A, London. As part of his vision to train future woodworkers, he bought Parnham House, Dorset in 1976 to establish a college. Later moved to Hooke Park, the college was handed over to another director in 2000.