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James Tattersall

13th Nov 2013

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For James Tattersall, simplicity and functionality are the key ingredients in his designs. Relatively new to the furniture scene, his pieces all follow the same direct aesthetic, stemming from a childhood fascination with how things are put together. “I get my inspiration from structure, shape and the way things work,” he explains. “As a child I spent many hours taking things apart to see what was inside. That curiosity in function hasn’t faded.”

James’s keen interest in how things connect is evident in much of his work, including the popular Bylight tea light holders. Made from wooden offcuts, individual holders can be slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle to create a linked-up line. The design was inspired by Lego and is an insight into another key element of his work: play. He views his Hackney studio as his playground, somewhere for freedom and experimentation. “I love being in the workshop, whether I’m making 30 of the same component or prototyping a new design. I only feel fulfilled if there’s something tangible to see at the end of the day.”

Showcasing at the London Design Festival this year is an exciting new step for James. Last year’s Clerkenwell Design Week was the first major event he took part in, and he was greeted by an enthusiastic reception from both press and the public. He’s hoping for even more this year. “I’m very excited to be part of the festival,” he says. “I’m most looking forward to seeing some of the smaller emerging brands there. It’s always great to meet like-minded people.”


The Quick Fire
Tea or coffee? Tea.
What’s the last really great film you saw? Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.
What are you looking forward to most about autumn? The colours.
What’s your guilty pleasure? A good whisky.
How do you relax? Skateboarding.
How would you spend your perfect Saturday? Coffee with a paper followed by a walk down to Markfield Park to see the Beam Engine, a massive steam-powered pump they fire up once a month for the public.


James Tattersall, Studio 3 Cell Studios, 69-71 Dalston Lane, London E8;