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John Makepeace OBE, (b 6 July 1939, Solihull Warwickshire), is a British furniture designer and maker. He bought Parnham House, Dorset in 1976 and founded the Parnham Trust and the School for Craftsmen in Wood (opening 19 September 1977, later to become Parnham College) to provide integrated courses in design, making and management for aspiring furniture-makers, alongside but separately from his own furniture workshops. One of the early students was Viscount Linley, nephew to the Queen of England.
Makepeace ceased running the Trust in 2000 when it moved to the new campus at Hooke Park under a new director who handed the premises over to the Architectural Association, the international school of architecture, for their practical modules.
John Makepeace constantly explores the issues of function, structure and expression predominantly for private clients. The work is innovative and exclusive. Paradoxically he once designed furniture for the retail market including Habitat, Heals and Liberty's.
He has taken the art of lamination and forming to a high art. Lamination is the process of layering wood together - the wood layers can be thin enough to bend easily and the glue lines thin enough to be invisible. When the layers are bent, two-dimensional curves of great strength result. Layers can also be twisted to create free-flowing three-dimensional curves especially relevant to generating shapes to provide good support in the backs of chairs. This means that fibres flex the natural line of wood.
His influences and inspirations are many ; 'dynamic traditions - buildings, modern architecture, science, structural engineering, behavioural patterns and the human form' (from Furniture Today).
Makepeace has been influential since the Seventies British Craft Revival; this continues through the growth of numerous workshops in Britain today, not least because of his entrepreneurial leadership encouraging more creative and professional practice by furniture-makers.
John Makepeace continues to design and make furniture exploring form, structure and a range of indigenous and sustainable resources.
- The School for Craftsmen in Wood at Parnham House
- John Makepeace OBE
- Jeffrey Cook. "Explorations of Roundwood Technology in Buildings" (pdf). USDA Forest Service. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
- Myerson, Jeremy. Makepeace: A Spirit of Adventure in Craft & Design. London: Conran Octopus, 1995. ISBN 1-85029-712-6
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