… and where to find it

Design: Unless they are the late Steve Jobs, anyone who tells you they’ve designed something completely new is flat out lying. There, I’ve said it. That is not to say that anyone’s design can’t be fresh, innovative, exciting, cutting edge and/or zeitgeist-y. Certainly, within the furniture world a design can be all of these things. Just probably not new.

Whether we like it or not, every designer is heavily, massively, fundamentally influenced by everything they have experienced in their lives to date. This is so important. What makes design still so exciting and often unexpected is precisely because of the experiences of the designer. And the fact that those experiences are totally unique to that individual. 

So while necessity is the mother of invention, quite often abhorrence of mediocrity is the mother of the re-design. For Dyson, he built an industrial cyclone tower for his factory that separated paint particles from the air using centrifugal force. And just five years later, ta-dah, the bagless vacuum cleaner!

For designer-makers, and particularly student designer-makers, it is much better to be like Dyson than to be like Jobs. Better to look at what doesn’t work for you, whether functionally or aesthetically, and improve it. Abhore mediocrity. While someone may come up with something that is better than a table, there is plenty of room to make gorgeous, desirable, breathtaking tables that are still fundamentally four legs and a flat top.  

So why not be happy to accept the functionality that already exists in furniture, but be inspired by your own personal experiences. Be driven by the life you’ve had, the world you’ve seen, and by the desire to simply make things better.

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.