Branching Out with Rycotewood at Heals

Rycotewood Furniture Centre is a small college based in central Oxford that carries an 80-year long legacy of teaching furniture designing and making. It has a reputable name within the industry, with many established names having passed through its workshops, and at Design Insider we are thrilled to support the course and graduates. Joining its skillful alumni are this year’s graduates from its BA Honours in Furniture Design and Make, as they showcase their work during their degree show at Heals.

Rycotewood Montage 1

Branching Out is an exhibition that celebrates the culmination of three years of a diverse exploration in the subject of furniture. For many graduates this is their first opportunity to exhibit their new work beyond the security of the college and marks the beginning of what we are sure will be very successful careers. This particular collection of work illustrates their command of the technical skills and advanced understanding of materials and processes that are required to produce high quality craftsmanship. However it is the combination of skill with creativity, which makes these graduates unique. Rycotewood students will be displaying a range of designs, from sculptures to fine crafted objects.

‘Heal’s has been designing, making and selling furniture in London for over 200 years. Since the store first opened in 1810 it has always championed great design. The Heal’s Discovers programme has given the opportunity to young talent to show their work to a wider audience and includes Russell Pinch, Sebastian Cox, Anthony Dickens and Tomoko Azumi among the roll call of past winners.

This summer we wanted to showcase the work of the graduates at Oxford’s Ryecotewood School of furniture. The School is one of the few places in the UK now where young designers have access to workshops throughout their degree and by learning at the bench the students come away with a great understanding of design for living. We’re delighted to show their impressive graduate show to our discerning customers’.   Hamish Mansbridge, CEO, Heal’s


Elliot Appadoo-Summers:  Elliots final year project looked at the benefits of furniture that encourages us to stand, over sitting. He creates unique pieces that explore the natural beauty of timber, as well as how they can be enhanced with interesting textures.

Will Ackroyd-Willoughby:  Will was highly commended for his Ivy Saddle design as part of the Gordon Russel Project in collaboration with William Hands Furniture of High Wycombe. He sets his own targets to create contemporary and quality made pieces that respond to modern user needs.

Jamie Jamison:  He focuses his designs on challenging what can be achieved with natural timbers; his work is influenced by geometric shapes and complex structures.

Jack Francis Throne:  He is committed to using locally sourced timber, a passion grounded in a childhood growing up around trees at his family’s sawmill in Oxfordshire.

Adrienne Law:  Previously she lived in the US where she followed a number of career paths. What she loves about furniture design and making is the combination of both practical and artistic (sometimes, completely mad) ideas.

Timothy Burns:  He is a designer maker with a great eye for detail, establishing his own modern and elegant style.

Harriet Poppy Speed:  She is a young designer maker who combines her background in illustration with a love for making using natural materials. She strives to redefine traditional archetypes of furniture in a playful and honest way. In August 2017 she was fortunate enough to be awarded a place on the prestigious LINLEY Summer School.

Rich Illingworth:  Whilst at Rycotewood he won first prize for both craft and design at the New Forest furniture competition for his Wave Table in sycamore and was runner up in the Gordon Russell Prize 2018 for his Flight stool range in walnut, oak and ash with textile.

Matthew Betts:  His approach to design is influenced by a modern nomadic lifestyle, where objects need to transform and adapt in order to sustain creative living spaces, as he believes that each piece can make a difference.

Ed Robinson:  His work seeks to bring original concepts to life whilst making sure that his solutions are not over complicated and the manufacturing techniques, choices of materials and minimal detailing, favour large scale production.

Alexander Roberts:  He is studying part-time at Rycotewood for his Ba Hons in Furniture Design and Make, and will fully graduate next year. He finds that a hands on design approach allows ideas to develop in some quite unforeseen directions

Rycotewood Montage 2

10 am – 7pm Wednesday 4th July – Exhibition open to the public.
10am – 5pm Thursday 5th July – Exhibition open to the public.
5pm – 7.30pm – Private view for industry and drinks reception.

Venue: Heals Showroom, Tottenham Court Road, London.



About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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