Furniture is fairly basic in purpose, it exists to sit on, eat off or put things away and yet nothing transforms a room more than a beautifully crafted piece.
Utilising reclaimed materials and elbow grease, an enterprising Raglan designer builds bespoke furniture that is contemporary, yet timeless. Each piece has been crafted with care and has a narrative all of its own.
This week we meet William Worsp of WRW &CO whose furniture is a mixture of both past and present.
How did you come to furniture making?
After completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Otago, I worked in the film industry before heading overseas. I had always loved working in the creative field but I had a burning desire to work with wood and use my hands to bring to life the designs I kept creating in my mind whilst on my travels.
So when I was back in NZ a few years ago waiting for my UK visa to come through, I decided to make one of the pieces I had been sketching and working on for some time. I absolutely loved the process and learnt a lot from it. I decided to approach a store in Auckland who took it consignment, and almost immediately I had 3 orders to fill! Looking back, this certainly is what sewed the seed of a potential business idea. However, I got back on the plane bound for London!
Once back in London in 2010, I took up a role as a Project Manager for a New Zealand run company specialising in commercial fit outs for large corporate clients. I worked on projects for GAP, H+M and Selfridges, as well as bars and restaurants. But I kept dreaming of home and the countryside… and as nerdy as it sounds, I also kept dreaming about designing and making my own furniture! So I decided to it was time to come home and see if I could turn my passion into a full time business…and so far, so good!
What’s the usual process and how long does it take?
It varies depending on the client’s requirements, materials and availability and the budget, but generally, we will get an order after a discussion in person, over the phone or via email.
How does experimenting with materials play into your practice?
It plays a really big part as wood complements so many other things. We experiment with steel, copper, brass, marble and leather which all work really well with wood and even different types of timber on the one piece can really add another level of interest.
When working on interior fit outs of spaces such as bars and restaurants, we get to experiment with a wider range of materials again, such as fabrics, glass, lighting and greenery.
Where do you source your materials? What’s so special about working with wood?
I like to use reclaimed timber for its unique characteristics which show its own interesting history, which I like to retain in the finished product. So this comes from many different sources such as building demolition sites, farms and old villas. I’ve also had a couple of clients come to me with their own wood which has sentimental value to them.
Where new timber is used, I have suppliers of New Zealand grown timber and suppliers of FSC certified timber which is imported. I always try to source the most sustainable timber option available.
I love working with wood, it can be sculpted and moulded into almost anything. Each piece of timber is different and holds different qualities so no two pieces are the sam. This means every piece of furniture is completely unique.
Creative people like to be challenged. What is the biggest challenge when trying to bring something to life? Are you often surprised by an approach you may take?
Yes we do like to be challenged and design is an iterative process which is essentially half the time about solving problems. When a new job or project comes up, I will often think through many different possible solutions yet funnily enough, I often end up going back to my initial idea.
So I actually think that having confidence in yourself is one of the biggest challenges. It’s very easy to over think things and whilst it’s very cliché, you just have to trust your gut instinct as more often than not, it’s usually right!
It’s been great to have a new person Faustin, join the WRW team. He is a cabinet maker from France and has a great creative mind as well as the technical ability, so we will bounce ideas around together to ensure the finished product is brought to life to the highest possible standard.
Most interesting commission?
I’ve really enjoyed working on the interior design projects such as the bar fit out in Queenstown, The Little Blackwood, which was named after the wood we used for the tables! It was an opportunity to work right from conception through to completion, which is one interesting ride! I enjoyed working with other creatives such as Jase the creative director, and it was such a good feeling seeing all the ideas come together as we had planned - and seeing that it all worked beautifully!
It also allows us to bring our style and aesthetic to life through more than just the furniture and transform a whole space reflective of the WRW & Co brand.
However the individual orders for residential clients also bring me great pleasure as they are all so diverse with requests ranging from drinks trolleys, beds and bedheads, to side tables, dinner tables and desks to go into really interestingly designed homes all around the country.
Piece you are most connected to and why?
It’s probably the drinks trolley, there are not many
(if any) of these around these days and it was something I had always wanted to do one day. But it took an order from a client to allow me the time and effort to invest in it. I love that it harks back to era and an occasion that brings people together in a really cool and sophisticated way.
How does living in Raglan influence your work?
It would have to be the amazing environment as well as the other craftsmen in the area that I use to help with my work. Raglan is such a vibrant little town by the sea so it definitely helps keep the creative juices flowing, whilst allowing head space for the designing to happen. It’s great to have
Auckland less than two hours away where I usually go for a couple of days a week, to get my fix of a busy city and enables me to connect with my clients and other work partners. So I am very lucky to have the balance between the two and love getting back to the peace of the countryside to knuckle down and get the work done.
Where and how does someone buy your pieces?
I work directly with each customer so people can either call or email me (see below details) with any requests or enquiries.
We have stock available in the showroom in Raglan and we often have visitors coming by to see where it all happens, I also do site visits if required. We can ship to anywhere in New Zealand and hope to have a space in Auckland in the next few months.
If people are stuck for ideas or not sure where to start, have a browse around my website, or my Facebook and Instagram pages which I update regularly with WRW goings on, then give me a call for a chat!
Ph: 027 526 0802