#industrial-style furniture

4 years ago · 7 min read
Wen, Gui Xiang, 45 – carpenter.

“I hate having my picture taken – I get very shy! I love to take pictures though, especially of my grandchildren. My son, his wife and their two kids live here with me. Thankfully, I get on really well with my daughter-in-law. She met my son in Guangdong through matchmakers.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
He, Zhen Jun – joiner.

“I started at the workshop six months ago. I used to work the 700km Guangzhou to Xiamen route as a truck driver. It was exhausting. We did eight-hours-on, eight-hours-off shifts the whole time. The worst part was that I could only come home once a year to visit my wife and son. Now I see […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
Li Wei, 35 – forklift driver.

Li only agreed to having his photo taken if we “made him look handsome”. He has a loud personality and a wide, confident smile. He seemed to enjoy posing.

5 years ago · 7 min read
Yu, Wei Jin, 41 – finishing expert.

“When I was 13 I started selling ice lollies near my house. I did it every day in the mornings and evenings. I was making Rmb150-200 in profit every month – that was a lot of money then. I used some of the money to help my parents pay for my school fees. With the […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
What makes you laugh?

We half expect Shivkumar to say ‘everything’, he’s been laughing and joking from the moment we meet. But he’s far more specific. “My children,” he says. “Their laughter. If I hear them laughing, it makes me laugh too.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Tell us about your job.

“I’m a spray man,” Dilip says, seriously. We tell him that with the gun and the name, it makes him sound like a super hero. He almost smiles. “This isn’t a toy. When I have the spray gun in my hand, I have to focus.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
How long have you been seasoning wood?

Munelal is cheeky and full of genuine cheer. We come upon him telling a story to one of his colleagues, he’s animated, and the other man is laughing. “I’ve been here for two years,” he says. “It’s a first class job. Great people, hard work,” he flexes his arms to show he’s strong. “I’ll retire […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
What’s been your biggest challenge in life so far?

Hariram looks up at the ceiling, the universal sign for thinking. The thought grasped, he turns his gaze on us. “Trying to find a good husband for my sister. She wanted to get married so much.” He explains. “And then I found someone perfect for her. I introduced them, and in a month, they’ll be […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
What do you enjoy about working with wood?

MD chuckles a little, as though a joke has been said and he’s the only one who understood the punch line. “It’s funny, you know.” He says, letting us in on the joke. “I love my job, I enjoy this kind of work.” He starts to laugh. “But I can’t stand the smell of timber!”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Tell us about yourself.

Miss Arti is deceptively strong and endearingly shy. She carries a load of wet, freshly dyed wool with ease, but answers our questions in small squeaks. “My family say I’m a good cook,” she tells us, smiling and then looking at the ground. “I have two brothers and they both love my food.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Hand-crafted from start to finish – crafting the Lille armchair.

Surrounded by towers of mango wood planks Sohan, a carpenter in the wood workshop, hand-selects the best pieces destined for the Lille armchair. Studying them, he visualises how many of the armchair’s parts can be cut out without wasting any of the wood. Once satisfied, he takes his collection of stencils and begins to trace. […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
Tell us about your craft.

Mullah Anwar Hussain is known to the people of Jaipur as Mullah-Ji; the ‘Ji’ part is an honour granted to him; it’s a mark of respect. “I come from a long line of block carvers,” he tells us. “Four generations that I know of… I am known for my work.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Weaving a tradition – the Indian bridal rug.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue – all over the world cultures perform a variety of ceremonial weddings. In India, one such tradition is the giving of a hand-woven rug as part of a woman’s dowry, or simply as a gift from the bride’s family.

5 years ago · 7 min read
What do you hold most importantly?

He looks up from inspecting a freshly lacquered Sullivan and rattles off a volley of instructions to his workers, before turning back to us. “It’s very simple,” he says. “Family is the most important thing in my life. Especially my children.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Do you have a hobby?

“I do not like music,” Ghanshyam states, very seriously. Taken aback, we push him. None at all? “No. I strictly do not like music.” The younger man, Rakesh, his brother-in-law, rolls his eyes when he hears this. He’s heard it before. “It’s pop music you don’t like,” he says. “I like to have the radio on […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
The Sullivan side table part III – the finishing touches.

Northern India during winter is cold. In a cavernous building reserved for woodwork, the chill seems contradictory to the warm hues that emanate from the vast stores of timber. All in varying stages of production, we watch as the Sullivan’s solid mango wood tabletop begins to take shape.