Richard Woods is the British artist and designer behind the big, cartoony, painted wood grain furniture for HAY and Established & Sons, and the forest-themed 'Tree Trunk' ceramics at Wrong for Hay. His latest installation, for the current Folkestone Triennial, consists of a series of six mini bungalows dotted around the landscape in unusual locations. Here he talks to DesignFizz about architecture, furniture and his love for wood.


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Growing up, did you always have an affinity for making things?
Fishing was a big thing in my childhood. My dad was always preparing to go fishing and I remember being into making the fishing floats. They were shaped using sandpaper out of balsa wood and then painted on the top with bright colours. The bottoms were always painted with Rustins black satin paint.

What did you study?
I studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. I have always been a ‘maker’ and hands-on. Looking back at what I made as a student, it was always large. It always involved lots of wood and lots of paint, so maybe nothing much has changed since then!

How would you describe your style?
I think my work is always a cartoon. This allows it to sit physically within the real world while appearing to be visually separate from it. The works are sometimes interactive (floors, furniture). Sometimes they are ‘don’t touch!’ (sculptures and paintings). Whether you can pick them up or they are just for looking at, I think they play equally with our notions of taste and class – and hopefully have a sense of humour.

ABOVE: The new 'Wrongwoods' collection for Established & Sons, 2017
BELOW: 'Tree Trunk' vases for Wrong for HAY, 2015

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ABOVE: 'Bench Press' seating for Established & Sons, 2009

What unites your projects?
After studying sculpture at the Slade, I worked as a carpenter and general builder for about seven years. That was during the early 90s and the whole world seemed to be laying laminate flooring (and I seemed to be laying most of it!). My work is a fusion of what I experienced at college and then the work I did to earn money when I left. I would laminate floors during the day and then found myself printing my own versions of wood patterns in the studio at night.

What materials intrigue you?

What’s your art/design ethos?
I’m interested in the spaces where art, design and architecture meet. There used to be an unthinking mantra that art and design somehow needed to be separated out. This was enthusiastically adopted by commercial galleries because it’s a handy way of keeping art more expensive. It’s a dogma that’s been harmful to visual arts, so if I have an ethos of any type, it would be to keep these worlds close and not separate them.

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ABOVE: Woods' mini 'Holiday Home' bungalows are dotted around the coastal town of Folkestone for the fourth Folkestone Triennial, a wry comment on second home ownership and the UK's housing crisis

What inspired you to take part in the Folkestone Triennial?
I visited the site and became excited by an idea that I felt would resonate locally and nationally. (Click here to see our post on the Folkestone Triennial).

What do you reckon is the solution to holiday homes and their effect on villages?
Build more wooden houses that are heated with wood-burning stoves.

Any other recent projects?
I am making a new public artwork commissioned by Birmingham's Eastside Projects and Banbury Council. The work involves hundreds of replica houses, copied from a nearby housing estate. Our tiny model houses will be attached to a canopy of trees in a small wood near the estate. The idea was to give the houses the best back gardens that a house could ever possibly have.

ABOVE: New designs created with Sebastian Wrong for Established & Sons' 'Wrongwoods' collection include the vibrant 'Palm Springs' dining table (top), in a sunny five-colour palette inspired by the Californian city, and a low level monochrome/grey sideboard and dining table

What’s next?
We have been working on some new tables with UK designer Sebastian Wrong. Our collaboration, which has been developing for 10 years now, is called ‘Wrongwoods’. Previewed at 2017's recent London Design Festival, they're the first new products we've made with Established & Sons for five years, so it will be really interesting to see what the world makes of them.

What’s currently exciting you in design or style?
dRMM's wooden pier in Hastings is great. It’s a beautiful big open space – good for running around. I love that they’ve managed to avoid all the usual, miserable retail opportunities and it makes you aware of the fantastic expanse of open sea.

Where or how do you find inspiration?
Walking in woods or listening to live music. We live near Epping Forest, so I can get out and hug a tree pretty regularly, and I try to see some live music at least every couple of weeks. It’s one of the luxuries of living in London. Last week we were lucky enough to catch Deerhoof, which was truly inspirational.


Who are your design heroes?
This week it's artist Franz West and architect Kazumasa Yamashita. I'm also inspired by musicians Jonathan Richman and Richard Dawson.

Where’s on your travel wish list?
Anywhere with a big forest. There's a plan to take my kids over to Scandinavia pretty soon. I think we’ll find some big forests there.

ABOVE: The iconic 'Face House' in Kyoto by Japanese architect Kazumasa Yamashita

What’s your social media of choice?
Instagram. I’m more keen on pictures than words.

The Folkestone Triennial is on now until 5 November 2017. The new 'Wrongwoods' collection is available to order from selected stores. Visit for local stockists

Pictures: Peer Lindgreen, Thierry Bal


Making Hay while the sun shines: Brit design talent Sebastian Wrong

Making Hay while the sun shines: Brit design talent Sebastian Wrong

Co-founder of Established & Sons, Brit designer Sebastian Wrong’s latest venture Wrong For Hay sees him teaming up with Danish interiors brand Hay. Demonstrating his knack for fostering design talent, the collection is an ultra- chic mix of lighting, furniture, textiles, glassware and ceramics at prices we can afford. So Wrong. So right!


How did the collaboration with Hay come about?
I met the founders Mette and Rolf Hay in Copenhagen through a mutual friend Stefan Diez, who was working on a few projects with Hay. Originally, the concept was born out of developing a new lighting collection. Hay don’t do lighting and never have. It became much bigger than that pretty quickly.

What's your role?
I’m the Design Director, so I’m working with my own team on designs, while commissioning a number of international designers on individual products, too. Developing a collection is largely based on intuition, refining any design until it answers our needs.



‘Ori’ salt and pepper mills by Anderssen & Voll come in five graphic colours

‘Pion’ lights by Bertjan Pot feature a stitched paper shade with a cool Art Deco aesthetic

This ‘Rope Trick’ lamp by Stefan Diez has an adjustable shade that directs the beam in different directions

Part of the ‘Tela’ range of glassware, this carafe has a delicate organic shape


The ‘Tela’ glassware by Silo Studio is softly textured and
subtly tinted

The seat of the ‘Revolver’ stool by Leon Ransmeier rotates 360 degrees

‘Ice’ cushion by Nathalie du Pasquier. Very modern Memphis and very now

‘Memory’ cushion by Nathalie du Pasquier. We totally heart these vibrant geometrics.


What makes this collection different from what you've done before?
It's important for us to benchmark quality products at an affordable cost. I'm designing this collection to be a commercial success, therefore the prices have to be competitive. A lot can be done with a little! 

What's next for you?
Growing the business Wrong For Hay. It’s a full-time commitment. It’s not a one-off collection or a capsule. We’re a standalone independent company to Hay but obviously very closely aligned.

If you weren't a designer, what might you have been? 
I studied art and specialised in sculpture, so I probably would have been an artist – and I thought I was going to be for quite some time!

How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. Quite free-spirited. And slow...

Which creative types have influenced you most? 
My tastes and interests change so often, but if I was pushed I'd say the sculptor Richard Serra and painter Philip Guston. I would invite designers Richard Sapper and Ettore Sottsass along to the dinner table, too.

How do you find inspiration? 
By opening my eyes. I’m not trying to be pretentious by saying that. If I got stuck in a box for a period of time, I would find some inspiration looking at the brown walls. It is more to do with a state of mind – being open to look at things and having the luxury of time to play with ideas. I do have a lot of books that I’ve been collecting for many years, so they provide a large amount of source material that I often refer to for research and ideas. 

Is there one product that you admire and wish you had designed?
I wish I’d got the patent for wheeled suitcases! 

Which social media do you enjoy most?
I don't use any. I don't have the time.