Designing Fine boxes

Inspiration and influences

Like most designers, craftsmen and artists I find inspiration in many places. Other practitioners and art movements informs my process for designing fine boxes.

I find beauty in the colours, rhythms, textures and shapes of the natural world. The proportions found in everything from sunflowers, nautilus sea shells and the human body have been described by mathematics through ideas such as Fibonacci numbers, golden sections and spirals.

Artists, designers and architects have used these ideas for millennia in their work.

Architecture both ancient and modern informs my work; from the classic proportions of the pyramids at Giza and the Parthenon in Athens, to the shape of edifices such as the Gherkin in London and the curves and lines of the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Structures of all kinds from buildings to bridges lead to ideas of shape, silhouette and form. The modern decorative movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are particularly inspiring for me.

The organic motifs and stylised flowing shapes of the Art Nouveau contrasts with the almost industrial geometric and streamline nature of Art Deco.

In fact it would be difficult to fully analyse the origin of any particular ideas as they tend to be an interweaving mesh of varying influences, half thoughts and inspirations.

Designing fine handmade boxes for you

Initially I review your requirements, your likes and dislikes and any other preferences you have. I use them to develop an idea that can be worked into a design.

I prefer to start with sketching; producing shapes and outlines to generate, convey and evolve ideas.

Occasionally an idea progresses beyond my original intention and may lead to further interesting ideas – or nowhere (luckily all ideas can be collected for future use). I try to determine the best shape or form of the box and play with its dimensions.

When designing fine boxes, I sometimes create a maquette or model to better help me understand the form and proportions. This aids the positioning and proportions of components that break up this form such as drawers, doors and lids.

I then consider the colour and decorative qualities of the materials. I like contrasts which, in my own projects lead to mixing dark and light, whether timbers, linings or textures. But where no real preference exists my drawings may show a variety for your consideration.

Areas such as motifs, patterns and applied decorations are also considered and can be reworked a until a pleasing effect is found. Feet and handles can be tricky and sometimes quite elusive.

A lot of work goes into making something that looks clean, simple and elegant.

The final design

Any drawings are fashioned to give an impression of the fine handmade box. Technical drawings can be overly complicated and difficult to relate to the real world. So I produce drawings that will give you an impression of the final box.

These drawings are forwarded to you for consideration. At this stage changes can still be made until you are happy with the design.

Finally, when we are in agreement I may send a final drawing. At this stage the design should be complete and just require your approval.