Piers Saxby Candy, the New School of British Design

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

Piers Saxby Candy combines the freshness and enthusiasm of youth with practical, well honed ideas and accomplished craftsmanship.

He is certainly one to commission a bespoke piece from now, before things go crazy and the bigger manufacturers snap up this up and coming talent.

He studied Fine Art Sculpture at Winchester School of Art before going on to work for established British artists and makers, most notably, the iconic Sir Anthony Caro OM, CBE who has been a key figure in contemporary sculpture for half a century. Saxby Candy worked as his studio assistant throughout 2010 and it was here that he developed his wood and metalworking techniques first learnt at Winchester.


‘Through making and showing my own sculpture I unearthed a desire to make more functional objects,’ says Saxby Candy, ‘and soon my sculptures started to evolve into lighting and items of furniture.’

He works from a studio in the heart of the Sussex countryside, in a quiet hamlet five miles from Brighton. Its a space he set up on his own and continues to produce all the pieces himself entirely from scratch, calling in a little help from other skilled craftsmen where bigger projects require.  ‘My workshop is in an old milking parlour,’ he describes. ‘It’s very idyllic with farmland and animals surrounding but with no heating the winters can be hard – I’ll often find my tea has frozen over!’

Following a stint in Liberty’s ‘Best of British Open Call’ in 2011, he launched his first product line in September 2012 at the London Design Festival. The range includes the industrial, beautifully raw but throughly creative Jelly Lamps for both the desk and table. The oak structures feature a hand-cast plaster of paris shade made using a vintage copper jelly mould, with rather cute lead counter weights and aluminium fixings.

Then there’s the Lead Side Table, which has a unique, statement leg design and a table-top hand poured by Saxby Candy.

There are larger lighting objects too,  such as the Lead Based Floor Light and Industrial Arc Light which are constructed almost entirely by hand from the solid 40mm steel base, curved metal frame and turned brass fixings with the only exception being the reclaimed British factory lampshade and the coloured fabric cord.

An example of his aim to use only British materials and ideally those that have been sourced locally, with wood and lead salvaged and reclaimed from redundant objects and nearby buildings. He religiously searches for the metal light shades on his floor lights from British factories who no longer need them. Each one comes with information on its origin plus a clear warning that ‘due to the bespoke nature of these lamps the shades may vary’ – the assurance that you will be getting a one off; something that can be said of all Piers Saxby Candy pieces. In addition to making modifications for clients on this first collection, Piers happily works with completely new briefs set by clients, exclaiming, ‘ I love bespoke work! I always try to challenge myself so no commission is the same. Each piece takes on a life of its own when in situ.  The glory of a bespoke piece is that you are able to tweak and adapt the piece in response to the space.’

Saxby Candy’s starting point is always the material selection, ‘I am passionate about working with raw materials,’ he describes. ‘I try my best not to tamper too much with the it.  I will always use the most appropriate material for the design – Brass is great as it is soft like butter when machining and has a timeless quality and feel to it.  Lead is also one of my favourites as it can easily be manipulated by hand and has a natural, earthiness to it.’  The designs then often evolve on the work bench as no plans are drawn beforehand.

He is currently working on two new products which will be launched at TENT London this September as part of the London Design Festival. They are a small side table made from burr wood, porcelain and brass and a range of hand moulded porcelain lampshade with turned brass detail. And of course on going projects for his own home, although they often migrate from his house to ideas for the product line all too easily. ‘The only piece that has managed to stay is a large floor lamp adapted from an old water pump,’ Saxby Candy says, ‘which has remained a complete one off as I’ve never managed to find anything similar. It’s always a good dinner party talking point!’

Piers Saxby Candy – www.pierssaxbycandy.com

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