5 November 2018

Bureau interview with Jennifer Newman

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Jennifer Newman to our outdoor furniture event, The Bureau Night Garden. We took the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer and chat about her business, her inspiration and what’s new for 2019.
BUR
What was your motivation for setting up a furniture business?
JN
I became involved in furniture when I bought a house and literally could not find the furniture that I wanted for the outside area. I just decided to have a go at this myself and I made a table and thought, mmm this is quite nice. I worked with local fabricators and somebody else liked my table too and I sold it to them for the price it cost me to make it. I made myself another one and that one sold, and I thought I actually like doing this furniture and so it just became something that I didn’t want to stop.
BUR
Have you always been interested in furniture design?
JN
The truth is ‘no’ I haven’t always been interested. It’s a recent thing.
BUR
Why is it so important to you to manufacture in the UK?
JN
I’m just passionate about British manufacture, I just couldn’t think about going abroad. And secondly, it’s just great to have fabricators on my doorstep because so much of what I do is customised and bespoke. The process will always start with a conversation with my fabricators talking, sketching, it’s a fantastic process. I could live in a factory.
BUR
Where do you find your design inspiration?
JN
The answer is very short, it comes from a drawn line. I trained as an artist and I draw all the time, I’m visualising all the time.
BUR
Do you have a favourite piece of furniture or a furniture designer that you admire?
JN
I like Ron Arad. I don’t really see very much else and I deliberately don’t look at other furniture if I can avoid it. I found as a painter that looking at art elsewhere would influence my art.
BUR
Can you tell us about your new design, the ‘Alfresco Mini’ table, which you are launching tonight at the Bureau Night Garden, outdoor furniture event?
JN
It’s a smaller version of an existing Alfresco which is a pretty big, meaty table. I played with the design because it is pretty robust, and I didn’t want to lose that, so I tore everything up. I started with it as a triangular structure and it just worked. We made this one first and invited architects to see if there was anything that they would change. Everybody liked it straight away. We have a version for outside, painted in all sorts of colours. The research we’ve put it in to developing that has been full on, working with scientists to find the right solution. We can match the floor, the curtains on the inside and put it outside in identical colours.
BUR
What are the key considerations for businesses/designers when they are commissioning outdoor furniture?
JN
It’s marvellous if they can come in with a sense of scale, bring drawings with them, bring swatches, let me know what the floor is, what the colours on the wall are, give me all the information. It’s just about talking, and quite often we will develop something that actually neither myself nor the designer thought about in the beginning. It can all change. What the designer sees in my showroom isn’t necessarily what they’ll end up with, it’s a bit of mix and match.
BUR
Can you describe your brand in 3 words?
JN
bold- simple -timeless
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