Straight Up

Furniture designer Ted Synnott on what joins his first collection together.

Straight Up

Furniture designer Ted Synnott on what joins his first collection together.

This is your first collection of multiple pieces. What drove that approach?

There are a few versions of the Volume tables, but this is my first collection with a wide range of pieces. Otama includes a chair, side and coffee tables, as well as high stools and shelving. It had the most obviously transferable details of any piece I’ve made; it felt natural to expand to a wider range of products.

What drove the design?

I worked on the chair in the background for a couple of years, playing with details and construction methods. One of the formative insights was discovered by turning round legs from square stock; if you leave some sections square, you have the ability to shape them in after they’ve been joined together. I wanted the chair to evoke a feeling of familiarity while still having surprising elements. Otama is what I settled on. It is a somewhat formal and linear language softened by the distinctive curved joinery, a juxtaposition of straight and round.

What connects the pieces together?

The Otama collection is defined by its strict perpendicular structure and softened joinery. It’s a visual language that can be applied to any furniture typology with legs, rails and a flat surface. Graphic and visually illustrative of its construction, it is transparent and straightforward. As well as being interesting visually, turning the legs from solid increases the material available in the joinery, allowing for a more substantial tenon and much stronger joint.

The craftsmanship is beautiful, tell us a bit about it

The range is produced to order in our Auckland workshop with help from neighbouring businesses. We use a combination of machine work, hand tools and CNC processes, each where most appropriate. In the future, I would like to license the design to a larger brand so it can be produced more economically.

Ted Synnott Studio


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