Metal is at the core of our designs and plays a key role in conveying the crisp and modern style associated with the Tom Faulkner name. Be that as it may, there’s much to be said for the value of innovation and variation. We find that combining materials can help to showcase what makes each one distinctly beautiful. Pairing metal and wood creates impact through contrast in some cases, and an unexpected sense of harmony in others. It’s in that spirit that we’ve drawn together our favourite types of wood to pair with our furniture designs. Each one is sourced from suppliers registered with the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure they’re in line with our exacting sustainability standards. Read on to touch upon the classics, and discover a few fresh variations along the way…
Walnut wood holds a special place in the hearts of furniture makers and interior designers, alike. It’s got a classic look, with rich undertones enlivened by delicate honey hued graining. Aesthetically, it works beautifully to bring depth to more traditional environments, and a warming touch of character to contemporary spaces. From a functional standpoint, it’s an excellent choice for furniture and cabinetry as it’s a particularly hard and robust wood. It’s our go-to choice for the inner workings of pieces like the new Edge bedside table, composing not only the drawer within but the tabletop which surrounds it. This is an apt expression of how form and function can meet in pitch-perfect harmony.
Dark walnut carries many of the same properties as a classic walnut wood. Although, this iteration brings an added layer of drama to the fore. The tone of the wood is quite adaptable, taking on a near-black look from certain angles. Shed a bit of light on it, however, and a deep, chocolatey hue emerges, complete with rhythmic variations in grain playing across the surface. To capture its full impact, we’d recommend selecting dark walnut as a top for large-scale dining tables like our new Vale.
Oak is a time-honoured choice that’s been spun into countless pieces of furniture through the ages. It carries an element of tradition, looking lovely as a hand-carved stool or table, for example. In our case, we like to apply it to contemporary forms which give it a new lease on life. Many of our designs, like this Phoenix rectangular dining table, combine crisp metallic bases with warm oak wood tops, merging new and old to intriguing effect. We find it works particularly well paired with darker metal finishes, like this cool and contemporary Charcoal black.
Whitened oak is a fresh take on a classic material. It adds a bit of levity and modernity to wood as a material, infusing a slight Scandinavian-inflection which pairs beautifully with our contemporary furniture designs. We think it’s especially effective on pieces like our Angel rectangular dining table, working in tandem with the smooth curvature of the bases below to create a softly flowing quality. Consider pairing whitened oak with lighter hand-painted finishes like this Moon Silver to bring an element of spark to the final product.
The Exe design family draws upon the traditional refectory table, reimagining the criss-crossed legs in a more modern light while retaining the character that a wooden top brings. That’s why we mainly make our Exe dining tables and benches with oak wood, harking back to the original iterations. We find opting for character oak brings an added layer of visual intrigue as well as a deepened sense of history to the Exe. In this case, we’ve tempered that element of tradition by setting the tops against jet-black Charcoal bases. The result is furniture that’s future-facing in form and palette, made in materials which pay homage to the past.
If you’re hoping to achieve the sleek, polished look of marble but would prefer to preserve the element of warmth and tactility that wood brings, ebonised oak could be the perfect choice for you. The black tone of the material carries a contemporary character with an even, monochrome surface. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll spot consistent graining across the material. There’s a textural quality to the wood which reveals distinctive patterns when caught by the light. We’d suggest opting for ebonised oak to pepper a bit of boldness throughout a scheme.
Silver grey oak is an entrancing material which makes for truly unique wooden tabletops. It beautifully combines warm and cool elements to add dynamism to any space. An icy silver tone dominates the surface, though waves of golden graining are allowed to peek through from within. There’s a beautifully aqueous quality to the wood, which works wonderfully set against the smooth curves of pieces like our classic Capricorn oval dining table. The result is a somewhat futuristic yet soft effect that’s bound to inspire intrigue.
Elm wood is a refreshing material with personality built in. The distinct graining ebbs and flows in a soothing display of toasty overtones against a straw-coloured backdrop. We find it especially striking with an exposed waney edge, as shown here as part of our Exe dining table. The organic quality of the irregular form introduces an added softness to the piece and intersperses each layer of graining to bring a bonus bit of variation.
If we’ve piqued your interest in a piece of wood-topped furniture, we’d recommend familiarising yourself with a few notes on maintenance. Our recommended options are relatively robust woods, though a bit of upkeep does go a long way in keeping them fresh as the years roll on. You can read our guide on How to Care for a Wood Tabletop or get in touch directly to find out more.
Text by Annabel Colterjohn