Tom Faulkner designs and makes exquisite and distinctive furniture and accessories. Almost every piece is handmade in Wiltshire. Tom’s signature qualities are clean lines, simplicity and beautiful materials. Loved by private clients and professional interior designers alike, Tom’s show-stopping furniture is equally at home in contemporary and traditional settings. The firm is celebrated for its faultless standards of quality and exceptional service. Tom Faulkner, the founder and driving force of the business, has been “making things”, as he says, for more than 20 years. After spending his twenties in various different jobs his creativity started to really take hold while he was working for Chrysalis Records in London.
It all started with a coffee table, which he decorated using stencils and spray-paint. Impressed by his own ingenuity he started to sell tables to friends and family, and when redundancy from the world of music suddenly arrived he took a deep breath and started a business. “It was a leap in the dark” says Tom. “Then I knew nothing of business, or interiors, or furniture for that matter!” In 1995 Tom discovered metal. He needed a chair to sit on for an exhibition of his tables, but he didn’t want just any old chair. He found a small forge in Wiltshire who could make him some, to his own design. Metal was an amazing discovery for Tom, he was seduced by its stylistic possibilities – the fact that it could be bent and twisted into almost any shape you liked. He was thrilled by its strength, versatility, and simplicity.” Tom started to design new tables and dining chairs. Reaction was immediate,and the business started to grow organically, as it has done so ever since. In 1996 Tom took another deep breath and bought the Wiltshire forge from the retiring proprietor, and a bigger business was born. As the business has grown, so has the workshop but it is still in Wiltshire - in Swindon, in the original railway workshops built by the great British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1850s. Nigel Ballamy and Gordon Ball, his first two employees, still work for him today. In 1999, Tom opened his first showroom, in Clerkenwell, London. In 2004, Miranda Kirwan joined the business. She started on a part time basis and with a background in sales and marketing she gradually became an integral part of the business. In 2008 they decided to move the showroom to larger premises in Chelsea’s prestigious Design Quarter.
Since then Tom and Miranda have grown the business together, and Miranda is now CEO. Metal remains Tom’s first love, but he has continued to explore the possibilities of form and shape, using both bronze and steel combined with other natural materials such as marble, timber, glass, leather, and even plaster. He travels constantly in search of new inspiration, drawing it from sources as diverse as Japan and Bauhaus-era Germany. Tom never really stops thinking about design, but away from the workshop and showroom, his interests include playing the guitar and spending quality downtime in Devon.
Our Design Approach
“I believe in the richness of visual simplicity: there might often be complex geometry at work but most of what I create looks strong, clean and unfussy. The quality of any piece is in the line, proportion, and detail.” – Tom is a master of the simple but striking form. His approach to design can be summed up by two phrases attributed to the great architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe: ‘Less is more’, and ‘God is in the details’. The hallmarks of Tom Faulkner furniture include strong silhouettes, recurring motifs and finishes that bring out the beauty of the underlying materials. These features, in combination with Tom’s fascination with classical geometry, give the pieces a timeless, elemental quality. Attention to detail is paramount at every stage of the design and manufacturing processes. Owning his own workshop allows Tom to be actively engaged throughout. It also gives him the luxury of being able to produce as many prototypes as necessary to get a piece absolutely right.
The Company Ethos
The key words that define Tom Faulkner are creativity, boldness, friendliness and integrity. Tom is committed to manufacturing in the UK, and almost all his furniture is made by hand in our Wiltshire workshop. This was once the site of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway works, and the spirit of the great man hovers about the place, infusing our work with something of his boldness and creativity. Another important Victorian influence is William Morris, the figurehead of the Arts and Crafts movement. His insistence on the compatibility of craftsmanship with modern, industrial processes is central to what we do, as is his emphasis on community and collaboration. Some members of the team have been working for Tom for decades. This gives them not only a wealth of experience, but also precious levels of dedication, mutual understanding and pride in their work. The friendliness and meticulous attention to detail that characterize the workshop extend into our London showroom and offices. Our customer service is second to none - we are there to help and advise at all times.
The Shape Of The Business
Tom is creative director, overseeing all new product development. Miranda Kirwan is CEO, responsible for the smooth running of the entire operation and the forward motion of the business. Tom and Miranda have worked together for over fifteen years, and have built up the business together. Georgie Barr, is business development manager, and works from the showroom in London. Tom Faullkner is fully committed to manufacturing in the UK, the workshop is lead by Kurt Baker and Sally Harrington. Nigel Ballamy (Tom’s first employee) is our chief engineer and works with Tom on all new products and prototypes.