Interview with furniture designer William Garvey

Another craftsman from the South West of England... there must be something in the air... What’s the most important thing to know about you?

I am a perfectionist to the point of obsession. Everything I design or make has to be perfect. Sometimes it's agonising, but it's always worth it in the end.

Bill Garvey

Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of the William Garvey.

A really good day would be when we make great progress on a large furniture making project and everybody goes home relaxed at the end of the day. A bad day would be when a client changes their specification at the last moment or brings forward a delivery date, which means very late nights in the workshop and lots of bleary eyed cabinetmakers.

What inspires your ideas?

Simplicity and functionality, the inherent beauty of natural materials such as timber. I draw inspiration from my surroundings; the woodland, the orchards and the ever changing landscape here in Devon.

William Garvey Geo basin

Describe the process you go though to turn your ideas into products.

We often work closely with interior designers and architects who have a clear idea of what they want. We take their initial concepts and work through several stages in order to get to the finished design, then on to the manufacture of a piece of furniture or interior. From initial drawings and 3D visuals through to life size mock-ups which we often take on site prior to construction. We then start the manufacture in our workshops in the South West of England. Each element is overseen by skilled cabinetmakers. Of course, I also design individual pieces of furniture such as our teak bathroom collection. Whilst I have a trademark design, each piece we make is made to order so the design is tailored to suit each client.

William Garvey Digby bathroom

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?

Focus on what you enjoy and that enthusiasm will show in your designs. Perfect your skills and learn from others.

Which three items could you not live without?

Eames Chair, Alessi Coffee Pot, William Garvey Geo Bath.

William Garvey Moscow

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of how the business has grown and become such a strong team over the years. We have great designers, skilled cabinetmakers and some inspiring young craftsmen working with us.

What’s next for you?

We are working on some grand projects in Russia at the moment where we are making furniture for each room of the house. The big projects are challenging but rewarding. We have several more 'whole' interiors on the cards for 2012 and I hope to start work on a new teak bathroom collection soon.

William Garvey Moscow

And, finally, what’s your favourite colour?!

Dark Green - the colour has many depths and is all around us here in deepest darkest Devon.