Benchmark’s popular Toolbox Talks are a series of conversations between individuals and companies who are experts in their craft with the aim of providing better knowledge and understanding of materials and skill in each area of excellence allowing Interior Designers to commission and source products for interiors more creatively and effectively.

We join internationally acclaimed furniture maker Benchmark for this latest talk on 22nd February 2017 along with Solomon&Wu, makers of handmade luxury surfaces. The day includes a tour of Benchmark’s workshop and delicious lunch.



With full details of the talk below, we take a quick look at a key project from both Benchmark and Solomon&Wu to give you a preview of what is on offer on the day.

To book your place please click here >



One of Great Britain’s most technologically advanced furniture workshops, Benchmark make beautifully crafted contemporary furniture by both leading and up and coming designers. They have their own furniture collection as well as making bespoke commissions for private residential and commercial clients.

Featured Project:

An Essex Kitchen Refurbishment: The light oak and clean lines of Benchmark’s refectory style Bailey Table complement this sleek, modern kitchen. The client wanted a mix of chair and bench seating choosing Benchmark’s stained Vienna chair to partner the Bailey Bench which has an angled plank seat for extra comfort.

The Benchmark-made light oak Bailey Table and Bailey Bench are juxtaposed against the Black stained Vienna Chairs.
A monochrome interior is created between the black stain of the Vienna Chair against the light oak of the Bailey Table and Bench.



Solomon&Wu work with the World’s leading designers and luxury brands to develop the handcrafted, heritage materials of tomorrow.

After years in the making Solomon&Wu bring industrial craft to luxury design. Taking artisanal skills and building world-class production methods bringing artisan craftsmanship to the commercial, hospitality and residential design sectors.

Featured Project:

Solomon&Wu have been working collaboratively with 212Box producing exciting surfaces for Christian Louboutin stores.

The Elenite based surfaces are taken from the new Pigment collection– custom made and proudly adorning walls and fittings at Christian Louboutin stores globally.

The Christian Louboutin On Lan Street Men’s store in Hong Kong features “Midnight Comet“, “Lunar” and “Pyrrha“. Photography by Nick Rochowski
Pyrrha can be seen in red at the window, the blue Midnight Comet highlights the back wall and the neutral Lunar adds texture on the right.


As eporta and Benchmark are accredited BIID CPD providers you can earn 4 CPD hours for the day. 

To book your place please click here >


Programme of Talks

eporta: The A-Z of Sourcing

As the largest trade-only sourcing platform for interiors, eporta exists to make sure that Interior Designers can always get the best products for their project. This talk covers all aspects of sourcing from accessing the best designs to responsibilities, pricing and supplier management. Learn how to save time on admin, sourcing effectively and efficiently so you can spend more time on the creative aspect of curating.

Solomon&Wu: The Exciting World of New, Luxury Surfaces.

Jake Solomon founder of Solomon&Wu will give an insight into developing ‘Elenite’ a new composite material and introducing it to the luxury interior design market as a base material for new handcrafted surfaces and innovative design concepts. Explore the creative processes and the research and development at Solomon&Wu’s Hertfordshire based workshop through exciting videos and behind the scenes footage.

Benchmark: The Colouring and Finishing of Wood

Sean Sutcliffe, Benchmark’s MD and a furniture maker for over 30 years, will give an interactive talk on the many different ways of changing the colour of wood. Using samples and demonstrations he will show how wood can be transformed using oils and stains as well as more traditional techniques such as bleaching, fuming and ebonising.

Benchmark Workshop Tour:
This tour is an opportunity for Interior Designers to gain a better understanding of the processes involved in furniture making and specialist joinery from tree to finished piece. Starting in the mill you will learn about the importance of timber selection in terms of colour, grain, character and structure and see how it is prepared and planked. Moving into the main workshop you will see the different stages of making from the 5 axis CNC machine through to the hand-cutting of joints by our master craftsmen. From there you will visit the Spray Shop where you will learn about different finishing techniques. Along the way you will visit the Metal Workshop and see how we work with non-ferrous metals such as pewter, copper and zinc. The tour will finish with the Design Studio where you will gain an insight into how we develop bespoke designs from initial briefs and sketch proposals, through samples and mock-ups, full CAD drawings and modelling, to the completed design.

Timings of the Day

10:15  Coffee & welcome
10:45  Talks kick off
13:30  Lunch
14.00  Workshop tours and informal discussions.
15.00  Afternoon tea

Travel Arrangements

Benchmark is situated between Newbury and Hungerford and is easily accessible from the M4. If travelling by train from London there is a direct line from Paddington to Kintbury. There will be courtesy cars at Kintbury station meeting the 9.18am train from London, arriving 10.17am. Return transport to the station will be available as required.


Care to join us? With seats filling up fast, be sure to register early to avoid disappointment. 

To book your place please click here >



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