Republic interviews Ted Jefferis

Built on a desire to display the natural beauty of wood, Ted Jefferis' furniture imparts organic, artisanal beauty.

Ted's family history is ingrained with design and woodwork heritage. The son of a classic boat builder, Ted took up studying at Oxford Brookes University, where he began to explore the concept of furniture as a scaled down form of architecture. His collection continues the appreciation of the fundamental relationship between furniture and the surrounding interior.

Furniture designer maker Ted Jefferis is fastidious in his selection of wood, and using sustainably grown British wood is a simple yet elegant solution to locking away carbon for generations to come. It is Ted's fond hope that, through his work. He will emphasise and encourage sustainability, permanency and narrative, creating a counterbalance to the throwaway culture of modern society.

We reached out to Ted who shared a thing or two about his creative process and professed his love for British Hardwoods.

I genuinely think British Hardwoods are some of the most beautiful in the world.

BoltUp side tables, TedWood

Republic (Re): Can you start by telling us a little bit about your background and talk us through your creative process?

Ted Jefferis (TJ): I grew up surrounded by woodlands and my dad was a carpenter. This has undoubtedly affected my love for timber as a natural material. I often design things at the workbench, through prototyping. This doesn't mean I don’t use pencil and paper or CAD, but I just like to see things take shape in physical materials.

tiptoe table designed by Ted Jefferis
TipToe table, TedWood

Re: You only use sustainable British hardwoods – clearly, sustainability is at the crux of your work. What else are you interested in or inspired by and how is it feeding into your designs?

TJ: Sustainability is key, however, I genuinely think British Hardwoods are some of the most beautiful in the world, so it makes a lot of sense to use them. I'm also interested in CNC manufacture, I think that as a craftsman I need to embrace this technology in order to enrich my process. It also enables my relatively small workshop to produce a higher volume of furniture.

Tipetoe table in the making in TedWood workshops
BoltUp stool in the making, TedWood

Re: Timber is increasingly becoming a viable alternative to traditional steel and concrete construction. I imagine this must be as exciting for you as it is for us. How do you think can furniture be used to promote sustainability on a smaller scale?

TJ: In the construction industry, cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a driving force behind the resurgence in timber as a load bearing material. CLT is the same technology that we use in the legs of our TipToe collection. People often mistake the legs for metal: it just shows how strong wood can be.

Story coffee cafe in Clapham
TipToe collection quietly sitting in Story Coffee café, Clapham. TedWood 

Re: Your furniture is so versatile it would fit in almost any interior but is there a sector you feel particularly drawn to? Or a sector you would like to explore further?

TJ: The collection from TedWood was defiantly intended for residential homes. However, over the past three and a half years, I have changed my attitude to this. We have fitted out an entire coffee shop with our furniture (Story Coffee - Clapham) and have just finished our first office interior. I like the scale of projects like this, somehow the furniture makes more sense when it is multiplied across a whole interior.

hangup lamp made from leather
HangUp lamp close up, TedWood

Re: We know your mother does the leather work. Did you create the leather lighting collection together? Will you tell us a little more about your collaboration and how it began?

TJ: Mum is an excellent leatherworker, and can hand stitch with incredible accuracy. She makes our ToolBags, BoatBuckets and some leatherwork for bespoke projects. The lights are made in my workshop and are defiantly inspired by Mum’s work but are made in a way that avoids this time-consuming hand stitching process. Because I am trained as a carpenter, working with leather is very satisfying, for me there are no rules with leather (because I am not traditionally trained) so I am free to just mess around!

Tiptoe desk by Ted Jefferis
TipToe desk, BoltUp side table and HangUp lamp, TedWood

Re: What are you working on right now and what are your plans for 2017?

TJ: We are just finishing a very interesting interiors project for a private client that includes a staircase, a lot of furniture and even some door handles! I am also working on a new furniture collection that we will be launching at Design Junction during the London Design Festival. This is alongside a new leather lighting collection, so just a couple of things going on!

Ted Jefferis in his workshop
Ted & Humphrey. Credit: creative CoOp

Artists like Ted Jefferis are the reason why we love collaborating with makers and artisans. If you would like Ted's exquisite furniture to feature in your next Republic project, get in touch - we'll be glad to meet over coffee.

In the meantime, take a peek into his workshop in Sussex by following his instagram page. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter

Opening photo: TedWood Workshop, Ted Jefferis