The Logbook: Vol. 6
As we look towards the seasons ahead, our homes should be ready to welcome us and our loved ones warmly. Timeless, comforting and nature-inspired designs will bring solace from the outside world and provide small moments of joy, as temperatures start to drop.
Over the past couple of months, we have been busy launching new wooden lighting collections which have introduced innovative techniques for our workshop to conquer. We have continued to keep the planet at the heart of what we craft, ensuring that as we continue to master the art of steam bending, we are protecting our surrounding environment in every way we can.
Thank you for your continued support and positivity, we hope you enjoy our latest news and updates from our design studios and workshops in Cornwall.
Crafting a brighter future
Our responsibility. Our impact. Our future together. We started this journey long before the word “sustainability” was fashionable. For us, this is a calling and not just a business model. A calling that we put our heart and soul into - and have for over a decade. From ethically sourced materials, to providing great opportunities for people, we make responsible decisions that will have a positive impact on our planet – ensuring a cleaner world for future generations.
“I truly believe that sustainability should be synonymous with good design, much like quality and function are, and that this is the answer to over-consumption and the environmental challenges we face.”- Tom Raffield, founder.
An ornate marriage of balance and light, the Verso Range is an asymmetrical wooden work of art that welcomes a fresh perspective. Forged from the Latin word to ‘spin’, the sculptural Verso Lighting Range calls back to nature and showcases the gravity defying, swooping motion of falling leaves in the wind.
“My aim with the new range was to celebrate how beautiful nature can be, there’s something new and different to appreciate from every angle. However you look at the Verso designs, the soft curves feel familiar whilst representing the varying movements of leaves spiralling in a soft breeze”- Tom Raffield, founder.
Three lengths of sustainably sourced wood dance and layer to create a striking, larger Verso lampshade which provides a show-stopping, sculptural centrepiece.
The Verso Small Flush Ceiling Light is thoughtfully crafted with smaller spaces in mind - perfect for lower ceiling heights or those tricky little spaces that are calling out for a piece of art.
A striking smaller alternative to the Verso Pendant. Perfect for creating a warm glow in specific areas, or making a statement with a personalised cluster. Vol.
You'll make us blush
Decorating with blush pink colour harmonises your interior - creating an earthy, dynamic space. Blush pink is the perfect backdrop for your favourite reading nook or living space. Add neutral wooden tones and thriving indoor plants to inject freshness and fun into any home.
Create the illusion of space and light with our unique, handcrafted mirrors. Whether you want to create a welcoming impact in your hallway, or curate an at home spa experience in your bathroom, a well-placed mirror can completely transform your interior.
Here at Tom Raffield we receive so many great questions regarding our pioneering steam bending technique that we thought we’d answer them for you...
How long have you been steam bending wood for?
TR: "My fascination with steam bending wood began whilst studying at Falmouth College of Art and I continued to explore the process whilst studying 3D Design at Falmouth University. So, I guess about 20 years or so."
How long do you steam the wood for?
TR: "It depends on the piece of wood in question. We use different lengths and thicknesses for every product that we make, it’s a kind of trial and error process! There’s no set rule or calculation to be honest, it’s best to experiment and keep note of what seems to work best for you."
What else can steam bent wood be used for?
TR: "Steam bending is an ancient process that’s been used across a number of industries for centuries. The steam bending process is most commonly used for making instruments such as violins and guitars, walking canes, bending the hull of boats and of course, furniture making."
Which types of wood are best for steam bending?
TR: "As a general rule, hardwoods tend to yield the best results - for us anyway. We use air dried ash and oak for our solid wood furniture products but other woods that work well include cherry, birch and maple. We also use walnut for our lighting ranges. You can steam bend soft woods (including pine, cedar and spruce) but if you were attempting this, again it would be best to use air dried wood - as kiln dried wood tends break or snap more easily during the bending process."
Celebrating paired-back structural beauty with its tiered, timeless drum shape, the Leven Lighting Range is a beautiful addition to our collection of handcrafted wooden lighting. We caught up with our founder Tom Raffield to find out about his inspiration.
Leven has a different aesthetic to your other lights - tell us about what inspired the collection?
TR: "This past year or so, I’ve had more time like everyone else, to go for more walks and get even more familiar with my local area - this time in nature allowed me to view Cornwall in a different light and seek inspiration from different places. Whilst most of our designs are inspired by the organic beauty of our surrounding environment, the Leven Lighting Range was specifically inspired by the sea-eroded cliff faces and ridged headlands that distinguish the north coast of Cornwall."
How did you name the Leven Lighting Range?
TR: “Leven means ‘level’ in Cornish – which we felt very fitting for the design seeing as it’s handcrafted from ascending tiers of sustainably sourced wood. Many of our designs are inspired by Cornwall, respecting the beauty that surrounds us and staying true to the roots of the landscape of which we continue to be so inspired by.”
Which product in the new range is your favourite?
TR: “It’s a hard decision, but I would have to pick the Leven Floor Light as my favourite. It is very adept at adding layers of illumination to an interior, and I think it is useful in many spaces. It would work well in living rooms, or in a bedroom to create some comfort. It draws the eye whilst adding a lovely glow to the room.”
It's how you style it
We love seeing how you style your Tom Raffield pieces, from contrasting flamboyant interiors to the minimally and neutrally styled, our signature steam bent designs always look amazing in their forever homes.
Share your photos with us on Instagram or Facebook, or browse #tomraffield to find inspiration and discover how others are styling their Tom Raffield designs.
Suited to lower ceilings and compact spaces, our Flush Ceiling Light range is a great way to create the iconic Tom Raffield aesthetic in smaller interiors. Discover our best-selling flush lighting designs…
Scandinavian design principles and our sought after aesthetic, merged. This iconic design illuminates space with a bright, bold contrast of light and shadow.
Elemental, geometric, sequential. Switched on or off, boundless shadows unfurl to create an extraordinary spectacle in your space.
Inspired by shells found scattering the shorelines of Cornish beaches, the Urchin Flush Ceiling Light softly illuminates space with pools of brightness.
An exciting update since Tom Raffield joined the WWF 2030 Circle…
The WWF 2030 Circle is a group of likeminded supporters united around a single goal: to halt the loss of the natural world by 2030. With an annual philanthropic pledge, we are partnering with the WWF on this decade-long journey to renewal. With 2021 being a vital year in the planet’s recovery, it is great to see all the hard work starting to come to fruition.
The trees are returning, and so are the chimpanzees. WWF has cleared 70 hectares (around 1,000 tennis courts) of battered forest, creating safe habitats for local wildlife, which over time through natural regeneration, will give chimpanzees more space to thrive and survive.
“Forests offer hope, and we’re emboldened by the fact that so many governments, companies, and individuals are increasingly recognising their importance. The current emphasis on ‘nature based solutions’ implicitly acknowledges the fact that if we protect nature, we protect ourselves.”- WWF
Our iconic handcrafted designs are thoughtfully designed with practicality and poise in mind, as well as creating a beautiful statement in your home.
Intuitive, dynamic, versatile. The Beeble Pouffe’s playful design means it can be picked up and moved around to offer seating in response to a myriad of spaces.
The multipurpose Tor Twist Shelf is carefully sculpted from tonal ash wood, gently twisting in the centre and elevating itself above three brushed brass tipped wooden pegs.
Handcrafted and curved from sustainably sourced oak, our unique detailing in the Stuggy Side Table, transforms a utilitarian staple, while its round top showcases the striking grain and tone of wood.
If you’re seeking a lighting design that will provide drama and depth to your home, then look no further. With timber petals set to soar and swoop above interiors, casting a plethora of striking shadow and light, our ceiling pendant collection is set to mesmerise and delight.
Butterfly Pendant. Dynamic. Bold. Wild. Casting a subtle, warm glow alongside lively shadows — the Butterfly creates an atmosphere that's truly captivating.
Cage Pendant. A riot of energy by day, a shower of shadows by night. On or off, the Cage’s interplay of textures, movement and light invites a closer look.
Urchin Pendant. Inviting playfulness and fond coastal memories, the Urchin Pendant provides guests a warm welcome, invoking the feeling of comfort.
We caught up with our team of talented team of makers to get the latest updates from our Cornish workshop…
The Lighting Lowdown
Our new Verso Lighting collection brought exciting new challenges to the workshop, with most of the pieces in the collection being crafted from one endless piece of sustainably sourced timber. A steady hand, patience and accuracy is vital when creating Verso; each design in the collection has a thoughtfully placed laser cut plate which has been cleverly designed to provide balance when suspended.
It’s no surprise that our wood steamer is one of the most important (and wellused) pieces of equipment in our workshops - so we always make sure it is in tip-top shape. We recently had the steamer re-designed, to keep up with our innovative new designs and techniques. This enables us to continue to push steam bending to its limits and means our new ideas can always come to fruition.
Cup of tea in hand. Feet up. Embrace and celebrate moments of self-care and the relaxation that can be found in your home. Hygge encapsulates the feeling of cosy contentment and the well-being that can be found in enjoying the simple things in life.
Spend these colder evenings snuggled in your favourite armchair with a good book and a steamy cup of tea, or settle in under a chunky blanket with your loved ones to catch up about the day to experience the Nordic-inspired sensation of hygge.
Explore our warming winter favourites…
Gift the gift of great design
As the season of giving is quickly approaching, little luxuries that are crafted to last a lifetime will make celebrations extra memorable. Small, beautifully made, practical gifts will hold a special place in the hearts and homes of loved ones.
From planters that can home a favourite house plant for the green-fingered friend in your life, to a minimalist mirror for the family’s skincare guru, our versatile range of steam bent accessories are crafted to suit a wide range of interiors and interests.
Tilner Mirror - Showcasing confident, bold curves of sustainably sourced oak, the Tilner Mirror is a portable, versatile piece designed for smaller spaces.
Mawnan Planter - Multifunctional and portable by design, the Mawnan Planter can be situated in a table-top position or hung by its braided rope to display trailing indoor houseplants.
Archer Table Light - A striking, standalone table light design that showcases confident curves and a timeless aesthetic.
Grazia - "Planet-friendly with good looks"
Our Loer Pendant won the Grazia Interior Award 2021 for Sustainable Lighting. Inspired by the elliptical orbits of the planets and moons that line the inner edges of our vast solar system, the Loer Pendant Light brings weightless illumination to any space it reaches.
Falstaff Living - One To Watch
Falstaff Living featured Tom Raffield as a designer to watch, showcasing the unique, beautiful designs crafted from steam bending.
“Tom Raffield’s fascination with the technique of steam bending allows him to create complex shapes, curves and twists from sustainable wood and use them to build his furniture.”
Enki - Sustainable Lighting
Enki spoke to Tom about one of our newest lighting collections – the Leven Lighting Range. Exploring the importance of sustainable design and the versatility of ethically sourced wood.
25 Beautiful Homes - Grand Designs Home
25 Beautiful Homes magazine featured Tom’s Grand Design home in their August issue, delving into every corner of the woodland wonder and what makes the space so extraordinary.
“Strips of ash and sweet chestnut wood evoke the relaxed cosy mood of an alpine chalet. The house is mostly decked out with Tom’s curvy creations, both light fittings and furniture, with a few modern pieces thrown in for functionality.”
Timeless Modern Design
Evoking a murmuration of starlings sweeping across the sky, our Flock Chandeliers cast shapes and shadows at every turn. One of our most recognisable and iconic lighting designs to date, it really is a show-stopper - that’s why we’ve decided to expand the collection and handcraft not one, but three sizes, of our nature-inspired chandelier.
“It’s a fabulous feature in our home and we are so glad we chose it.”- Pauline W
Crafted to last a lifetime…
Each design that comes out of our workshop is handmade to last a lifetime of happiness – guaranteed.
Pushing back against ‘throwaway’ culture, we craft heirlooms to the highest standard, ensuring each artisan design will stand the test of time. We pride ourselves on producing sustainable homeware and lighting pieces that are timeless, and finished with expert attention to detail, from our Cornish workshop.