Clerkenwell Design Week 2024 allowed us to showcase new products and our showroom. The event did not disappoint, and we received an overwhelming response with fantastic feedback. A big hit was our new Henry stool, designed and created in-house by our product designer, Henry Watson.

What was the goal?

Modern workplaces need to be flexible and able to change and re-organise when required. Our products should reflect this. One of our most successful products, the Penelope Phonebooth, came with a built-in perch for users to rest on whilst inside the phonebooth. Although this was a popular feature, we had more and more requests from customers to be able to remove the perch as and when needed. Due to the current design, this wasn't always possible, so we looked for an alternative option. After completing market research, we decided to design and make a stool that would complement the Penelope.

The process

Enter Henry Watson, our in-house product designer. As with all good plans, it started with a sketch of how he envisioned it coming together. This sketching phase allowed him to thrash out multiple ideas and designs, gain feedback, and explore various possibilities before committing to the chosen form.

Once the design was chosen and explored, several sketch models were cut using our XTool Desktop Laser Cutter & Engraver, allowing us to see the design in real life for the first time.

plastic prototype

The Design

"I wanted this product to utilise all our manufacturing capabilities whilst only using one sheet of ply and without the need for any visible fixings."

stool base details

The stool consists of four identical sections that slot together and form the base. Initially, the footrests had a radius to create a curve; however, with the addition of steel kickplates to protect the wood from damage, we had to remove the radius to ensure a snug fit. Removing this radius also meant the kickplate had to be redesigned.

stool kickplates

We kept the radius on the leg and seat base to complement the design and reduce the harsh angles. We use FSC-certified 18mm Spruce Plywood for the construction, available with a coloured laminate or exposed wood finish.

stool seat

The seat comprises four matching squares, angled at 4 degrees to provide a comfier seating position. Each square has rounded corners to ensure there are no sharp edges. Holes line up with specific notches in the base, and low-VOC PVA glue is applied to hold each seat section in place. On the underside, particular channels are cut for our upholsterers to fix the fabric into (on upholstered seat options). After receiving market feedback, we made three versions, low, medium and high, to cover all applications.

What challenges did you face?

Due to the notch fixing on the seat sections, they were twisting in early development, causing a weakness in the notches and allowing the sections to move. To address this, Henry designed an off-centred fixing, which shifted the pivot point and thus fixed the problem.

stool notches

What's next?

Plans are underway to create a bench version of the stool, so watch this space! To stay up to date, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Parting thoughts

"It has been an interesting project that allowed me to explore the 'basic' stool and make it my own. I wanted to create something beautiful in its simplicity whilst ensuring the sustainable ethos of JDD Furniture was upheld. Using plywood added another element to the overall design and aesthetic because of the contrasting lines and edging, made more visible on laminated options. Hopefully, people will be enjoying this stool for years to come."



Meet Henry Watson

henry watson

Henry, our highly skilled product visionary, has been with us since 2022 and has elevated JDD to a new level of visualisation and product design. Filled with a wealth of expertise and knowledge, Henry has been involved with some of the biggest domestic furniture manufacturers on the market, heading up a 3D design team that creates realistic renders and imagery.

When Henry isn't designing and creating, he likes to get outdoors. He often completes walks and hikes, sometimes for charity and others just for fun! He is also an avid chess player, frequently playing matches at his desk while working.

When asked what he likes most about JDD, Henry said, "JDD was always on my radar as a student. I liked that everything they designed was and still is manufactured in the UK, all while being sourced locally. Since joining, there has been a positive attitude towards anything we do, and working with ambitious people, we are always trying to innovate and push the boundaries."

Henry brings more than product design to the business. He also has the broadest knowledge of music and is a must-have on any pub quiz team. He also pretends to understand politics.

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Any questions or queries?

At JDD Furniture, we pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our existing and new customers. If you have any questions, ideas or you want a quote on a custom job then just drop us a message using the link below.