Husband and wife team, Russell Pinch and Oona Bannon co-founded Pinch Design in 2004. Each piece in their collection celebrates a simplicity of form and commitment to quality. Their latest bedroom collection has just been awarded Elle Deco’s British Design Award. They have a shop in Belgravia and a studio/showroom in Clapham, where this image of Russell’s workstation was taken.
From left to right:
When Oona and I first started Pinch, we were doing all kinds of jobs, including the reception seating for the head office of Neal’s Yard Remedies. We still make these Twig seats and benches from coppiced hazel. My Dad and I made the first models 15 years ago,when few in the furniture industry were interested in using this type of materiality. These are the miniature bundles of hazel we used to create the models.
Vintage woodworking book
My dad is the only reason I know how to make anything. He taught me how to carve at the age of seven and I definitely have to credit him for my understanding of wood. He spent a lot of time with his uncle when he was growing up. When his uncle died, we went through all the tools in his shed and found this handbook, which I think is beautiful.
Avery chair models
We make models for all our pieces. They are very crude, but accurate in terms of scale. It’s a great way for us to see if a piece works full-size because there’s nothing to hide behind. Most of our models are 1:5, but these chairs are 1:10 and I think they’re rather beautiful.
Paper hammer and teapot
Now and again, we go a little bit crazy with our shop window. This is part of a set we created for the window in Belgravia to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show. We made a scene from Margaret Atwood’s Up in the Tree, which is a book our kids read when they were little.
I was given a scalpel with a 10A blade by my parents when I was really, really young. In fact, I remember them having an argument about whether it was a good idea or not. Now, it’s like my right arm: it’s more useful to me than a pen. For me, the design process is integrated with the making. We are all good makers at the studio: we’re not all sat at CAD machines 3D- modelling an idea and sending it off to a factory. It’s a much more integrated process.
My godfather Russell Watkins got me into furniture design. He worked for Herman Miller when they had the license to make Eames furniture. I was 16 at the time and hadn’t even heard of Eames. He introduced me to who they were and showed me the Power of Ten film and that was the moment I thought: I want to do that. I did work experience with Herman Miller which was amazing because I was from Gloucestershire, and coming to London was so exciting. My godfather inherited a lot of Herman Miller furniture over the years and he gave this to me when we started Pinch.
Tombow brush pens
I’ve been using these pens since I was 13 when I became obsessed with airbrushing. These are beautiful and really soft so you can layer them, which looks more like watercolour.
Oona and I spend a lot of time in France, and we usually come home with a ridiculous amount of stuff from the brocantes there, including this beautiful gradient graphic, which would have cost about 20p. The yellow cloture électrique sign is from our neighbour in France who is a farmer. When we were kids, he encouraged us to stand in a line holding hands. One person had to hold the electric fence and we would see how far down the line the shock would travel.
Pinch shop model
I made this on “holiday” because we were going to do an exhibition, and we realised we had no reference to our shop. This was such a nice thing to make.
Elan armoire model
The armoire is part of our latest collection. The front is made of birch veneers dyed in very pale colours. The inspiration for this came from a stone carving of nudes that my Dad made years ago. I’ve abstracted the nudes and made them more nymph-like.
Imo folding stool model
This shaker-inspired stool is one of our earliest pieces and it comes with a little wooden peg because it folds down through the centre so it can be hung on the wall. A lot of folding furniture looks really cheap when it’s folded, but I think this is almost more beautiful when it’s folded than when it’s being used.
Frans drinks cabinet model
When Pinch became real Pinch, we launched with just three cupboards, including this one. That’s really what we built the business on.