Tim Gosling: Bespoke Furniture Design

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

This year sees the 10th anniversary of Tim Gosling founding his own company, Gosling after 18 years as a Director at Linley.

Now Tim Gosling is well known and respected in his own right for his classic, elegant and romantic style which he applies to interior design, his own furniture collections, but most often completely bespoke commissions.

‘‘I live to design,’ enthuses Tim. ’Everything I see, from opera and ballet to museums and stately homes, informs my design thoughts.’’

Before working for Linley, Gosling’s career actually began in the West End, following his graduation from the Central School of Art & Design in 1987 in Theatre Design. His work included creating sets and stage scenes for major productions such as Miss Saigon and Starlight Express as well as working as a set designer for Las Vegas shows. An exciting background which he feels infuses a little drama into his work, as well as the influence of a period setting.

‘Design wise, the essence of seeing something captured on stage and knowing exactly what period is being represented is a great deal of what we do in creating bespoke furniture,’ describes Gosling, ‘we are taking the essence, the DNA coding of a particular architecture or period and putting it in a different configuration.’’

Now based in Clapham Old Town in the Georgian building Sycamore House, he and the nine strong Gosling team have worked on a range of projects. Commercial commissions include the Goring Hotel, the Bond Street flagship store for Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Savoy Hotel, BP Headquarters in London, the Oriana cruise ship, and even a series of humidors for Dunhill. Private client projects include everything from private jets and yachts to country homes and London apartments.

 

"I feel passionately about preserving traditional techniques. I only uses the very finest materials so it is essential the craftsmen know their trade."

Work in the super yacht industry inspired Tim to turn his design team’s expertise to creating a collection of the first ever carbon fibre exterior deck furniture and Gosling Marine was launched in 2013. He has own line of interior furniture and products, as well as a collection of 30 pieces with Todhunter Earle and a range of Art Deco rugs for The Rug Company launched last year.

See how Hill House Interiors added glamour and opulence to a super yacht

All are open to a level of customisation and appear in neutral shades in order to be ‘the foundation and inspiration from where the interior design commences’, but really the core structure structure and ethos of Gosling is to design and make completely bespoke pieces, working with traditional craftsmen all over the country, the majority of which are in Yorkshire. This and the bespoke process itself is something Gosling holds in the utmost respect.

‘I feel passionately about preserving traditional techniques,’ describes Gosling. ‘I only uses the very finest materials so it is essential the craftsmen know their trade. Commissions begin with the intimate process of working with the client to ensure the designs reflect their needs and taste. Each commission is unique and treated with reverence. And for that reason, no day in my life is ever the same – Each design has its own different elements to conquer and piece together.’

This completely considered approach has lead to some fantastic results, such as a 25 cm tall library bookcase pavilion for a collector of miniature Shakespeare volumes, to a double height library with cantilevered walkways based on the triple height private library of the Athenaeum in London, currently being installed in upstate New York.

‘I have a devotion to the use of innovative materials, historic and contemporary,’ describes Gosling. ‘The use of shagreen and vellum has been something I have been exploring for a few years now, and recently the discovery of Straw Marquetry and Carbon fiber.’

Materials, their intricacies and potential, is certainly a thing of wonder to Gosling, with other adventures into the world of finishes including Pietre Dure, egolmise, wood marquetry, cut glass, bronze, brass and chrome stringing.

Most have an historical grounding, for example the early twentieth century French designer, Jean-Michel Frank was one of the first to use straw marquetry in a contemporary way and the particular straw Gosling uses today is grown in the South of France, worked into panels in Normandy and then sent to Tim’s cabinetmakers in Yorkshire.

As if creating moments of historical importance through furniture and responding to people’s needs for their projects to exacting standards were not enough, Gosling is also writing his third book Contemporary Classic, The DNA of Furniture Design, which is being published by Thames and Hudson in October of this year. Alongside all the busyness and buzz of studio life, you can feel how much Gosling loves to design and genuinely enjoys every day as a designer. ‘It’s a constant source of pleasure,’ he concludes, ‘I am lucky.’

Recommended reading:

Handmade: Bespoke Furniture by Paul Case

Charlotte Crossland, Bespoke Joinery with Elegance and Heart


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