Jonathan Rose Design News

Flock 2017

Jonathan Rose Design is showing at Flock Fringe this year in partnership with Belinda Rose Weave and Buchanan Food. On show is a new collection of Christmas Textiles, the Attentive Collection of furniture and some tempting treats from Buchanan Food, all at the Colour Bothy, Hirn.

flockfringe2017-2   flockfringe2017-1

Flock Fringe is a new idea. It expands the reach of Flock to people working nearby in their own studios. Two venues are participating: The Colour Bothy and Heckleburn.

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Scottish Furniture Makers annual exhibition

This year the Scottish Furniture Makers Association  annual show is being held at Custom Lane, Leith. I will be showing my Attentive chairs and stools in partnership with 17 other independent furniture makers from the association.

Sat 4th – Sun 12th November
Admission Free

Opening Hours:
Weekdays: 9am-5pm
Saturdays: 10am-5pm
Sundays: 11am-4pm


Exhibitors include

Janie Morris, Anna Nichols, Angus Richardson, Digby Morrow, Adrian McCurdy, Max McCance, Micheala Huber, George Potter, Daniel Lacey, Jonathan Pang, Stephen Finch, Chris Scotland, Gavin Robertson, Alan Dalgety, Angus Ross, Ross Samson and Simon Whatley

Here are some pictures of the show




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Critical Creative Design

A letter in the paper today is a tribute to lateral thinking during important moments of world history. As Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley were getting ready to face the press, a small problem arose – where do they sit in relation to each other?

triangular tables letter copy

These words share the diplomatic solution.

I wonder if the Brexit talks will be needing Segment 1?

segment1-front-ptf-lnscpsegment1-front-ptf lnscp


Nobody sits at its head, everyone has a direct view of everyone else, and of course it is top quality solid timber.

I’m looking forward to the call, David and Theresa! And of course I have a collection of chairs, as many as you need.



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London Design Week

Here we are for real – lots of interest in the simple lines and how the chairs support you for the activities you enjoy or need to do. Here are some visitors doing just that.



There’s a lots of stress in building a stand at LDF – but of course Sitting Firm is here to help. Sara loves her job. Not sure about it myself.





Jonathan Rose Design will be on Stand L02, 1st Floor Hall T3-C and the stand should look like this. Come and have a chat, see what’s on offer.

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Edinburgh Exhibition


here are some pictures from the show.

IMG_3546working out how best to arrange things









this corner looks about right – the red chair hides that ugly plug socket but we can’t do much about the ceiling piping. These pieces can be used to try out before they are purchased.








this side shows the prices and each piece on a plinth – not to be sat in!









Here is a most discerning visitor. She appreciate the design and functionality. Modern living at its most candid.


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Dundee Design Festival 2017

In the craft world, manufacturing is often associated with a personal detachment from the material being worked. Manufacturing is efficient, reduces the price of each unit and makes the item accessible to a wider market. But it is not made by craftsmen.

Dundee Design Festival promoted a different perspective. Industrial tools and processes connect to the individual maker.

Silo Studio  shared their passion for production processes and how it led to developing a new material for furniture. Polystyrene looks an unlikely starting point.  Delving deeply into the source material and challenging some industrial practice Attua Aparicio and Oscar Lessing came up with not so expanded polystyrene.  It can be moulded and formed into rails and posts, just what is required for furniture.

Table made from ‘Not So Expanded Polystyrene’

‘Not So Expanded Polystyrene’ material

This process of enquiry led to other projects. Plastic keys from redundant keyboards could form colourful surfaces for tables. Especially interesting to the manufacturer of those keyboards at this time of global overload. Understanding the materials and who could have an interest in using them is part of finding a bridge between crafts and industry.

Attua and Oscar use Jesmonite to make bowls. This is an acrylic/plaster of paris mix which sets to a hard material which can be polished. Attua and Oscar demonstrated the skilled use of colour and an understanding of the properties of the unset material to make appealing patterns.

One strand of the craft debate is about the connection between the hand and the eye.  Critical to personal success is an intuitive understanding of the process. At Dundee we saw that idea built upon. Here are some examples.

CHALK specialises in designing and creating beautiful decorative plasterwork. They use traditional techniques in the restoration of historic interiors undertaking minor repairs to the complete reinstatement of original designs

Contemporary Plasterwork

contemporary plasterwork

a classical urn in a contemporary setting

GLITHERO are British designer Tim Simpson and Dutch designer Sarah van Gameren, who met and studied at the Royal College of Art. From their studio in London they create product, furniture, and time-based installations that give birth to unique and wonderful products. The work is presented in a broad spectrum of media, but follows a consistent conceptual path; to capture and present the beauty in the moment things are made.

digitised organ music woven on a Jacquard loom

damask tablecloth depicting a Jacquard weaving book

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May 2017 update

It has been a fulfilling 15 months since my last post.

The main event has been the exhibition ‘After the Storm‘ , held in the John Hope Gateway Gallery of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. 12 cabinet makers from the Scottish Furniture Makers Association designed and made furniture using timber from the gardens blown down in 2012 by Cyclone Andrea. Oak, cedar, maple and chestnut formed the most usable wood. With the support of Forestry Commission Scotland, RBGE and members of SFMA, the exhibition became a celebration of creative talent.

Here is an image of the piece I collaborated on with Gavin Robertson – Gavin the experienced maker and me the designer. Always an interesting interchange when two creative people work together for common purpose. I hope we will have the opportunity to do this again.

Tsunami chart cabinet made from cedar and yew

Tsunami chart cabinet made from cedar and yew

Many people experience the rising of water, albeit gently but inexorable, over the parapets designed to protect.

The exhibition closes on 28th May.

A book written to complement the event is available in the shop. It explores ecological change, resilience and renewal in the context of Cyclone Andrea and has pictures of the furniture.

In addition to the exhibition, a bench for the gardens has been sponsored by the MS society  (Edinburgh and the Lothians) and made by Angus Ross. It is to be a place of reflection and a destination for visitors. The MS Society were particularly supportive of this project because people who have the condition have had to make major adjustments to their life and adapt to new expectations.


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start of year thoughts

I look at this work by Danish textile practitioner Anette Bendixen and I love the combination of thought, use of materials and the idea behind an image that shocked the 19th century salon society, being made in the 21st century from yarns. The interlacing is done by hand with each connection dependent on the judgement of the makers eye and the skill of their hand.

Picts needed to create influential images. The work involved carving granite which suggests the person who commissioned the work had something important and enduring to say. Mysterious in our current world, but something to take inspiration from. Look at the maiden stone and wonder.

 Beatriz Schaaf-Giesser made this image from felt, which sits beautifully on granite but is in a material which requires skill and understanding to work. From this textile collaboration using images carved on stone, here is a new back design for Attentive in wood and copper.

One project completed last year has been an experiment in modular display units, inspired by wine boxes but sized to fit LP’s. This is called the ‘Elpea’ system, where each unit locks together and is built up from the floor.

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thoughts for the spring

Winter reading included a revisit of Gareth Williams ‘The Furniture Machine – furniture since 1990’ (V&A publications 2006) which reminded me of the giant forces that are out there influencing taste in furniture. This book tracks the development of several celebrity designers, who Williams terms as part of an egosystem, and have design thinking. Take Jurgen Bey and his tree trunk bench at €12,500. He was experimenting with the meaning of furniture rather than the practicalities of it. He made a statement that it is ridiculous to transport trees when they are available locally, so you only get three bronze chair backs for your money.

Gaetano Pesce made a piece that fulfilled all the demands of furniture in a new family home. Child proof, colourful, comfortable and easy to move. Donna is a polyurethane foam product made at a time when pop art was at its zenith and new materials in vogue. In fact this one came virtually flatpack – it could be vacuum compressed to only 10% of its volume. Manufactured by Cassina and Busnelli in 1969 with a reissue in 2000 it featured in Big Brother in 2002.

Continuing to explore the design possibilities for Attentive, there are now six different backs, designed as part of a set for a kitchen table and with continued influence from the Omega workshops of Christopher Fry, Bauhaus and from Mediaeval Spain. The Alcazar Palace in Seville had some stunning images, crafted in wood and ceramics, the source of three of these backs. The veneers and copper for Attentive are cut by Laser through Heritage Inlays in Brighton.

Technology plays its part in progressing design and I’m sure is one of the forces that Gareth Williams talks about.

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