17 Feb Philip Watts Design – The Ironmonger Extraordinaire Sculpts Innovative Interior Details
“For me it’s all about the detail”, enthuses Nottingham based designer Philip Watts. Yet this general and banal category, “designer”, seems to fall short, when summing up the innovative and highly skilled craft of Watts. Perhaps it’s more apt to describe him as an artist, or maybe even a visionary. For here is someone who is able to take the most mundane aspects of interior design and transform them into something truly extraordinary, making them works of art in their own right that stand out and ultimately steal the show. Like a household staircase, rendered out of cast aluminium and sculpted into a spiralling spinal shape, that becomes a mesmerising architectural centre piece; or a seemingly simple door handle, finely moulded into a stunning metallic leaf design, which offsets the entire look of a room; or even a basic, uninspiring item like a urinal, completely revolutionised by a quirky, colourful illuminating design that ends up a major design talking point.
“People may think certain interior elements like door handles or coat hooks are bland and undeserving of any inspirational effort”, explains Watts. “But as Antonio Gaudi once said “God is in the detail” and for me he was exactly right.”
This earnest dedication to the neglected details of design has taken Watts far. From the humble beginnings, a one man band working in a makeshift design studio in the garden of his former student home, Watts now sits at the helm of an award-winning international design brand that has amassed a collection of over 500 products, worked on over 100 interior design projects and created over 150 unique architectural installations for private and commercial clients from the U.S, the Middle East, Asia and beyond.
Yet it is the imaginative and inspiring architectural ironmongery that Watts is most renowned for. His range of aluminium, brass and bronze products that include handles, handrails, window frames and portholes, embrace a variety of design styles. Whether you’re looking for classic and elegant designs, like the Albert Pull doorknob and the Butterfly furniture handles, or a quirky and playful statement item, such as the caterpillar seating bench or even the “the Lips” furniture handles, there’s something to suit all tastes.
One of the keys to the company’s success seems to be its ability to break the mould in an industry saturated with mass-produced and imported products. All products are made using the finest materials, sourced from the UK, and are expertly casted by hand in a local foundry: “That’s quite uncommon these days, but we’ve grown the company organically step by step and the market has responded to the fact that products are being handmade here,” says Mr Watts.
While the ancient and endangered nature of the ironmongery trade as a whole adds a further element of exclusivity to the brand: “the beauty of my work is using old techniques to make something new”.
More recently the company has extended its range of products to include lighting. Described by Mr Watts as “crucial to creating the right atmosphere in any interior space”, lighting seems to be a natural fit for the brand and a great way to compliment its other products and services. Signature pieces from the exclusive lighting line include Deco, the Deco Dish Wall Light, Triangle and Loop. Four bold, contemporary cast bronze designs that showcase the exquisite ironmongery the brand is famed for. In fact, inspiration for some of the lighting structures comes directly from popular handle designs; the Deco Dish Light is based on the Deco D handle and the Loop lights imitate elegant, circular structure of the Amoeba handle.
In addition to their outstanding product range, the company has also designed and overseen a number of large-scale interior design projects for clients as diverse as Ibis Hotels, Yo! Sushi and Greggs the bakery. This high-quality and bespoke service has delivered some outstanding results such as the award-winning interiors at George’s Great British Kitchen in Nottingham. Interior clients can also call upon the firm to offer bespoke products, personalised to the specific design project at hand, such as the decorative aluminium fish door handles used for George’s Fish and Chips Kitchen, to compliment or set off the theme of an overall design.
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Tel: 0115 926 9756