Alan Flannery is our Supplier of the Week, 22-28 August.
Currently exhibiting alongside other expert craftspeople at the annual Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design in Cheltenham, Alan’s pieces have been intriguing the audience with his mix of traditional woodworking skills and a contemporary approach.
You can easily visualise the amount of care and precision that goes into each of his pieces, making them designs which can last for generations.
We spoke with Alan to find out more about his process.
How did Alan Flannery start as a company?
Ever since I started my training to become a furniture designer maker twelve years ago it has been a goal of mine to create a studio that produces well designed, high quality furniture. After a number of years working in the furniture industry in London I got the opportunity to relocate to Bristol to start my business and was very excited to do so.
What is special about your products?
I would like to think that the pieces I create have a unique style. Although I respect and admire many other designers and makers I try not to be influenced to such an extent that my work loses originality. I feel that creating original pieces of furniture is about striking a balance between respecting the traditions of furniture making but by applying them in a new way.
How and where are your products manufactured?
All of my designing and making is done in-house in a cooperative workshop/studio called the Vale Lane Workshop in Bristol. It comprises of seven different enterprises all working on their own interesting projects. It’s a great working environment with a number of creative people all under the one roof. It is a meeting place of different styles, practices and backgrounds where there is always knowledge and expertise to be shared.
What is your preferred material to work with and why?
Wood is my favourite material to work with as I love the notion of doing something new with such a traditional material. It also excites me that as a natural material no two pieces are ever the same.
You’ve recently designed 3 new pieces for CCD – tell us more!
I have recently designed three new pieces which are currently being exhibited at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design (CCD) in Cheltenham, until August 29th. These three pieces vary in style and aesthetic and reflect the various influences that have a bearing on my work.
Tephra is a coffee table created from layers of native Ash which are shaped into a fluid, organic form. Inspired by the shaping of volcanic rock by the elements the table aims to reflect this natural occurrence not only in its flowing shape and structural make-up but also in its process of manufacture. The removal of material, layer by layer, little by little over time allows the table’s shape to form into a singular, flowing and smooth structure
Taking its name from the Latin word for “flow” Fleure is created from a single board of Native Ash. The table’s form is inspired by the shaping of our natural landscape by flowing water. It is designed to appear as if it could itself have been formed by this process. The top aims to give the impression that it once was a sharper, more pointed shape but has been worn down over millennia by the abrasive action of water flow. It has become rounded and softer in appearance over this time and as the water follows the path of least resistance, it flows over the brink and down the legs eroding a channel as it does so.
Retrospect although a contemporary piece of furniture does, as its name suggests, take a look backwards towards and pays homage to the sideboards of the mid-century modern era. While taking styling cues from these long, low, Scandinavian styled pieces, Retrospect also ploughs its own furrow. Standing on top curved leg structure the geometric cabinet appears to be created from a number of different pieces, each one separated and accented by red laminate which sits back from the surface creating a red shadow gap.
It is a great privilege to have my work exhibited alongside some of the best furniture makers in Britain.
What can we expect to see in the next year?
The coming year looks like it will be very busy. I aim to expand the range of furniture I produce and at present I am working on designs for dining and lounge chairs. Once completed, these products will be available to order on my eporta catalogue. I also aim to showcase my work at London Design Week next year.
Finally, tell us about the last time you found a place / object / experience really inspiring?
I often find that inspiration comes from a fresh look at the familiar. I am constantly inspired by the landscapes and seascapes of the West of Ireland, when I travel home to visit family and friends I get a different perspective and a renewed sense of its beauty.
To open a trade account with Alan Flannery and start ordering from them directly, click through to their catalogue below, and then ‘request a connection’: