Derek Welsh – Interview


We are pleased to present you to the designer Derek Welsh. He opened his studio in 2005 with over 25 years of woodworking knowledge. His handmade furniture products are created with a great attention to details. We invite you to read and discover his work…


Hello Derek, how are you ?
I’m very well thanks.

Can you introduce yourself ? Tell us more about you.
I am a designer and maker of contemporary furniture products and I also work on a variety of bespoke interior projects. I served my apprenticeship with a small carpentry firm in Scotland where I gained knowledge of a diverse range of traditional techniques and woodworking skills. I have worked with wood for over 25 years in various areas of carpentry/joinery and in 2005 set up Derek Welsh Studio.

Where is your studio based and what do you like about this place ?
The studio is based in Glasgow and the best thing about it is, the space and the light. It is a large workshop with a glazed roof section so the light is exceptional to work in. It can be cold in the winter months even with the wood burner on, but worth it.

What is your experience and approach to design ?
The focus is always on the design and modern craftsmanship. I am mainly influenced by art, graphics and architecture and take inspiration from these disciplines – I tend to have an idea from something I have seen that is unrelated to furniture. I like to develop the idea by making a model and then moving onto a prototype. Working this way allows me to get to grips with the limitations of a design and to solve the problems in a real sense.

Are furniture/product design and interior design the same kind of working process/approach ?
As a small studio, the furniture/products and the interiors are approached in a very similar manner. All the work is done in house therefore I try to achieve the best functionality and attention to detail in the design and finish for each individual project, whether an interior or a furniture/product.

Do you have a kind of manifesto in DW/S ? How do you process in your work ?
I started the studio with a clear, honest and logical vision. I take a great deal of satisfaction from designing and making furniture products where nothing is left to chance and I wanted to use the skills I have, combined with hard work to produce perfect, simple furniture that is easy to use and long lasting.

Can you tell us more about the singular “Trace” furniture ?
In 2005 I designed an internal corner shelving solution called “Box-Shelving” where I used a mix of nine solid inner-connecting boxes, varying in depth, height and width secretly fixed to maximise the potential of a corner space. I then developed Trace from this by basically taking the outline of Box-Shelving in a fine timber framework form. It was initially an exhibition piece as I wanted to produce an object with a sculptural quality. Trace was first launched at 100% Design London in 2009.

Have you been influenced by any movement (art, design, photography …) or designer in particular ?
Where do you start on that one…. there are so many influences from different disciplines but If there had to be one artist, it would be Donald Judd.

Which advice would you give to the next generation of designers ?
Stay focussed on your own ideas/work, stay motivated and concentrate on the things/ people that inspire you. It is hard work and at times all consuming but there is no quick fix and you have to be in it for the long haul.

Which book is on your bedside table ?
Ken Garland Structure and Substance.

Some projects to come ?
At the moment I am working on a variety of jobs including an interior commission and a very nice exhibition project in Europe. I am also in the development stages of a new product for launch in autumn.

The last word…



Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 02.13

Designs are ©Derek Welsh

Photos are ©Reuben Paris.



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