On the outskirts of Edinburgh, overlooking the famous Forth Bridge, designer and woodworker Callum Robinson's most pressing issue at the moment is keeping his Border Collie puppy from chewing up the furniture. Robinson is the co-founder and Creative Director at Method Studio, founded in 2009 and based in the idyllic Royal Burgh of Linlithgow with the sole mission to make things that are beautiful and carefully considered in every way. The studio's latest piece, "Stasis," combines Robinson's design aesthetic and passion for woodworking with the pipework of a fellow (if not unlikely) artisan, Robison's local heating engineer. The resulting piece has found an audience at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and currently graces the window of Spencer Hart on London's famous Savile Row, a true ode to craftsmanship in all forms and a stunning showpiece for the doting cyclist.
Part work of art, part storage and entirely quality crafted, "Stasis" is meant to show off feats in cycling engineering as much as it is about saving space. "We have a lot of passionate cyclists among our customers, and there's always that one bike that's their baby," Robinson says. "It's a bit Damien Hirst, almost 'Metropolis'-inspired. We wanted the bike to be admired, not just stored." A key part of Method Studio's process is the story behind each piece. "The provenance is really important to us," Robinson says, "The wood is actually from the estate where I live and we know the guy who cuts the trees down and he mills them." And from where the materials come, so too do the collaborators.
After his leaky boiler had finally had enough, Robinson made a fateful call to a local heating repair shop and met Keith Livingstone. "I've worked with a lot of guys over the years," Robinson says, "It's easy to spot someone who's doing exceptionally good work simply for its own sake." Over the following years, Robinson's admiration for Livingstone's devotion to quality work morphed into collaboration. "I called him and said, 'Your pipework—which I'm sure you've been teased about—how would you like to have it displayed at the Royal Academy of Art?'" Robinson recalls. From there, the welding and soldering began—copper pipes, Scottish oak and oiled Tuscan leather took on a life of their own. "It turned into more of a piece of art than we were expecting, with the juxtaposition of materials, and special person it would take to appreciate it," Robinson says.
Discovering, appreciating and putting on display craftsmanship that is generally hidden away is one of Robinson's gifts. While he heads up the design aspect, Robinson believes working with skilled craftsman from unlikely areas is necessary to making the best products. "We usually collaborate with other makers because we like to use lots of different materials and because we want to be the best, we need to get people who are the best with their material," he says. With partnerships that span commercial, industrial and art, Method Studios illustrates the potential of collaborating with different training, aesthetics and perspectives. And, while Robison acknowledges his responsibility regarding design, it's his wife and Method Studios co-founder, Marisa Giannasi who "keeps the business—well, a business."
"Stasis" is currently a one-off piece, with the possibility for future commissions. Check out Method Studios online where the piece is available for £4,800 and to see the full range of projects.
Images courtesy of Method Studios