joe & vince | method furniture makers
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Brighton’s newest restaurant (complete with sunshine roof terrace bar!), The Flint House, then you will have seen – and perhaps even sat on – some of the incredible craftsmanship from friends Joe and Vince (middle two in feature image), aka Method Furniture Makers. With over two years of MFM projects around Sussex under their belt, we wanted to find out a little bit more about what they love about their work and the city they live in. Read on to hear what Joe had to say…
We loved following the build of The Flint House on Instagram and seeing your latest project take shape. How long have you and Vince been friends and when did you decide to go into business together?
We met almost eight years ago now, doing the odd shift in a bar together. I then went on to work for a small company based in a workshop near Lewes and Vince went back to France to work from a workshop in the heart of Paris. It’s been over two years now since we joined forces, transformed an old cattle shed into our very own workshop and began Method Furniture Makers Ltd.
And how would you describe your style, if you have one!?
It’s difficult to say. We’re commissioned to make a lot of modern and more traditional pieces; kitchens, wardrobes, staircases, bars, dressers, desks… anything clients, architects and designers dare to dream up really. When it comes to designing and creating freestanding pieces of our own, we tend to be on the more modern side of the spectrum. Clean lines, solid flat colour, simple and functional. We do everything with great care and a lot of consideration: for the piece itself but also for the environment it will eventually end up living in.
We love the sound of that. So what would you say is your favourite piece of work and why?
We created a bespoke kitchen for some clients in Exeter, Devon. We were given a rough specification of the kind of thing they were looking for. It allowed us to explore a little. We chose to use a spray-painted finish on oak-veneered doors and drawer fronts with solid oak finger-pull handles. It gave texture whilst keeping the overall look very sleek. The colours chosen were very rich and deep. The worktops ended up being a kind of cream colour, the island unit a dark purple. The tiles for the splashback were a floral design. There was a lot going on, but it was bold [pictured below] and somehow simple. We were over the moon with the result, as were the clients. It was a daring project but it really paid off in the end. Not everyone’s cup of tea though, I’d imagine!
We love bold! And what kind of projects do you most like to work on?
Projects vary a great deal. Big, multifaceted jobs are a joy to witness come together as a whole. Smaller, free-standing pieces are very rewarding because they stand alone, as one single statement. We also really dig making staircases because they provide a lot of scope for design ideas yet they have a simple functionality.
The work we’ve seen at The Flint House is very pleasing to the eye [pitured below left]! How did you get involved in that project?
We’ve been working with Ben and Pamela, and Jack from Landivar Architects for a few years now. Firstly on The Ginger Rooms, then we refurbed The Ginger Pig in Hove [pictured below right], and last year The Ginger Dog in Kemp Town. It’s always a pleasure to work with the team involved.
So do you do purely functional pieces or arty-type pieces, too?
Everything we make usually has an important function. The pieces are, however, mostly always aesthetically interesting. I suppose that’s partly the reason why people come to us… we offer an extremely bespoke service; we can generally provide something most well-known companies won’t. We specialise in our ability to pick apart, engineer and realise anything that clients and designers care to dream up.
Well, that sounds ideal as it’s not always easy to make what’s inside your head a reality in design. Ok, next question… is there a place in Brighton & Hove that you would love to redesign?
Hmm, that’s a difficult one. I suppose when anything is designed and built it has to adhere to many criteria, and so much of it is a matter of personal opinion. Having said that, I’ve never liked the way the Odeon or the Brighton Centre look [Ed – agreed!].
And where in Brighton & Hove do you live and what do you love about it?
I [Joe] live on the border of Brighton and Hove, very near the seafront. It’s nice to have the Lawns and the water so close, especially when the weather is good. In fact, it’s a great place to be in stormy weather, too. Vince lives in the Elm Grove area. It’s nice up there. A bit of distance from the mania in town, and only a short walk into the countryside. We spend a lot of time outside. It’s good for the head.
What are your favourite spots in Sussex?
We play a lot of pétanque down on the seafront in the good weather. It’s become quite a hobby for a few of us. It’s a great game and always nice to beat a Frenchman at his own sport!
And finally, what would be your dream day in Sussex?
A sunny day at the workshop, followed by frisbee and a swim, a bite to eat and a beer or two, and an early night! We’re getting old, you see.
We hear ya! Brighton in the summer is dreamy, isn’t it? Head over to the boys’ website to take a look at some of the gorgeous work they’ve done and get in touch if you’ve got a project brewing…