Traditional Design Models: Tableware Study for theDivision.

It’s been a while since I posted anything in News & Views. I am pleased to say we have been extremely busy with some very interesting museum models. In general, 90% of my work is shrouded under a cloak of secrecy, very occasionally I can show a project.

New Work for theDivision
I am delighted to show these reference models of a new range of houseware for ‘theDivision’ design consultants. The models were created to demonstrate the exact form & finish expected of the final product.

Design Evaluation for theDivision.
Design Evaluation for theDivision.

I have worked with UK product designer David Tonge since 1992. At that time I was immersed in making concept GPS handsets, white goods & general consumer electronics.

David is a keen advocate of traditional model making as a serious tool for design evaluation.  Of all the designers I have worked with, only a handful truly understand that traditionally made models still represent the benchmark for 3D design evaluation.

The value of traditional model making is very much underplayed in this age of ‘rapid’ additive technologies, but I would argue that the skill is as relevant than ever. Having the knowledge & experience to select materials & processes most appropriate to each task, model makers are more able to produce models of consistent accuracy, form & finish. A significant number of our models have served as a reference for many years.  I know of models I made back in 1986 that still exist in the archives, but it was only when seeing models made by Le Corbusier on a visit to  MoMa in New York 4 years ago that the importance really hit me. Longevity is important, it reinforces evaluation & evolution, it serves to provide a clear reference point, & we learn from history right?

Form Finish & Materials
Traditionally made model demonstrating form finish & materials.

The Value of Traditional Skills in Design.

I am fascinated that the automotive industry still predominantly use clay modelling for their concept work. There are very real reasons for this but in my view, the major reason is having a ‘hands on’  understanding of the form and developing the subtleties on the fly. Ultimately, physical human interaction through every stage of design development generates emotional responses. Whether negative, positive or indifferent, understanding what triggers them throughout the process is an important function of good design. Form, texture, ergonomics detail & materials are such important elements that it is vital they are appreciated at all stages. Reference models put everything in context.

Machined & Finished High Density Epoxy. Oiled English Oak, Polished and Satin Stainless Steel.
Reference models machined & finished in high-density ceramic epoxy, oiled English Oak, polished & satin Stainless Steel.

The need for Model Makers to be Masters of all trades.

Reference models such as these, require mastery of a number of key skills. Every project requires mastery of different skills. In this case, precision metalwork, woodwork, CNC machining & finishing to perfection. An eye for form, how the light picks up on details & have those details been executed with sensitivity. I hope you agree we have hit the target?

CNC Machined model in authentic materials

Handmade – Richlite Clocks for Surface Matter


I was  recently Commissioned by Surface Matter to design & make a pair of quartz clocks to demonstrate the versatility of ‘Richlite’. As one of a number of ‘Artisan’, created pieces, they were exhibited  at the launch of their new showroom in London.

Typical Applications for Richlite

This bonded paper product is typically used in architecture, interior applications &  some very exciting furniture creations emerging from a small number of exclusive makers.

Material Characteristics

I have worked with this material on smaller scale products for some time and have developed a fascination with its it’s decorative properties, in particular its lack of uniformity when used for smaller objects. This simple design is hand made using ‘Rainier’ & ‘Diamond Black’  with brushed copper detail. The face presents a simple elegance while the reverse reveals a decorative surprise. The Richlite is finished with a furniture oil.


Design Model for theDivision & Sunstar

Delighted to showcase this reference model, one of four designs,  made for product design consultants theDivision & their Client Sunstar. The model is CNC machined & hand finished and fabricated in Polyurethane & Acrylic. Sunstar has now launched E-Treatment for the Equitance brand in Japan.

The Division’s approach to design values simplicity, exquisite form, exceptional finish & precise detailing. It is always a pleasure to work on such great projects with David, Nicole & the team.

Read more about the story of this product on The Division web page.


Model Showing Precise Detail and Graphics
Front View
This semi-functional model deals with the subtle combination of soft feel coating and high gloss details.
Polished White Nozzle detail
Model Showing Polished White acrylic Nozzle detail
User Experience
Ergonomic Model