Monday, 11 July 2016 12:55

Furniture designs go on show

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Each surface of Richard Warmisham’s bureau de l’agent has a story tell Each surface of Richard Warmisham’s bureau de l’agent has a story tell
After a career switch from his previous job as a political researcher, an aspiring High Barnet furniture and cabinet maker is gaining recognition at a series of craft and design shows.

Pieces produces by Richard Warmisham were on display at the recent Living Crafts Show at Hatfield House, and his hand-crafted bureau de l’agent console desk and an Origami-style coffee table and magazine rack will be featured at the annual exhibition of the Society of Designer Craftsmen at the Mall Galleries in August.

Mr Warmisham, who lives at Ravenscroft Park, and has a workshop at Waltham Abbey, says he gave up a well-paid job in political research at the House of Commons in order to study fine furniture making and design.

My father was a baker, and I wanted to be more creative....

In 2013 he began an 18-month course training with designer Marc Fish and returned to Barnet in the summer of 2015 to launch his business (

“My father was a baker, and I wanted to be more creative, and do something with my hands, so I decided to leave the rat race and change careers.”

He chose the name bureau de l’agent for his console desk – currently on sale for £6,000 – because it has hidden compartments that would have been used by a secret agent, but in a modern usage provide storage space for laptop computers and iPads.

The Vinci stool doubles up as a side table or magazine rack“I describe it as a modern art deco inspired piece, and it is multi-purpose. It could be used as a desk, stand in the hall or sitting room, or perhaps find a place in the bedroom.

“Each surface of the desk has a story to tell: the carved legs, in art deco style, are in a fumed oak veneer; the desk surfaces are in full-grain leather; the front of the drawer is crafted from preserved English bog oak; and the sides of the drawer are made from rippled sycamore.”

Mr Warmisham’s Origami-style coffee table, which is available as a limited edition and costs £2,000, is made from English ash.

“The table, with its surfaces and legs, looks like a folded piece of paper, and across the centre is what could be a magazine rack.”

Another piece, his Vinci stool, costing £250, doubles up as a side table or magazine rack. It is made from oak from Witney in Oxfordshire and American black walnut.

Mr Warmisham recently sold one of his Origami-style tables to an architect in London, and as a result of the Hatfield House show, is preparing designs for a dining table with 12 chairs, and a sideboard, within a potential budget of £20,000.

“There is a very strong market for bespoke furniture. Viscount Linley is one of the UK’s most prominent furniture designers, so it is an understatement to say that competition is fierce.  My ambition is to come up with some spectacular pieces.”

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