out and about :: design in cornwall

Katie | February 25, 2013

Praa Sands, Cornwall

I’ve just come back from a week or so in my home county of Cornwall. The light in Cornwall has inspired artists for decades and the landscape is enough to awaken even the sleepiest creative instinct. But it’s contemporary design that is really leading the charge in the creative industry’s revival of the most Southwesterly corner of England. I’m always harping on about how fabulous Cornish design is, so I thought it was about time to dedicate a post to sharing some of of my favourite designers and makers with you.

Tom Raffield pendant no 1 in ash

Tom Raffield created his distinctive steam bending technique while studying at University College Falmouth (recently awarded full university status and renamed Falmouth University), and is now based in Helston, Cornwall. I’ve been a fan for a long time and in fact interviewed him for the blog way back in 2010! I love the seemingly chaotic design aesthetic.


Award-winning design agency Boex was founded in 2004 by twin brothers Sam and Will Boex.  A conversation about whether they could incorporate an everyday office object into a piece of furniture led to perhaps their best known design, the pencil bench. It’s made from 1,600 pink pencils, each of which can be removed and used. Perhaps inevitably, but rather fabulously, the D&AD commissioned one in yellow for their office.

Felix McCormack Spargo Lamps Photography by Ryan Bleyswyck

I absolutely swooned over Felix McCormack‘s Spargo Lamp when I spotted it at New Designers One Year On last year. I love concrete, so to see it used for a heavy lamp base in the similar way to the Arco Lamp’s use of marble was an absolute delight. Felix studied at UCF too and is one of an increasing number of Falmouth graduates making the decision to base themselves in my favourite county after they’ve graduated.

Charlotte Tangye Falmouth breakfast

I have these Charlotte Tangye’s Falmouth plates – they work really well alongside my People Will Always Need Plates collection. The staffordshire fine bone china is illustrated with boats from Falmouth and Penryn.

MARK Milly stool

And finally, John Miller and Anna Hart, aka MARK, were two of the first people I ever got chatting to at a design show – I think I met them at my first visit to 100% Design. With a strapline like “Product of Cornwall” and a name which is an acronym of Made and Realised in Kernow, they are clearly proud of their Cornish roots. Cornwall is both an inspiration for the design and making of the products instilling longevity, comfort and quality into everything they do, but it’s also where their products are made. Cornwall’s diverse network of small and medium sized producers, enables John and Anna to contribute to the local economy while keeping costs down and guaranteeing the quality they pride themselves on.

See? There’s a lot more to Cornwall than cream teas and Cornish pasties!

Further reading for the especially geeky:

With thanks to Ryan Bleyswyck for the photograph of the Felix McCormack Spargo Lamp and David Griffen for the Charlotte Tangye Falmouth plates.

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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