Woodworkers for the creative industries.We’re an established workshop and on-site service aimed at artists, galleries and designers, based in Hackney, east London.
We work in a variety of materials, but most often in wood – you can view some of the artworks we’ve helped produce on our Projects pages. With our special skills and wide-ranging knowledge of suppliers and other specialist makers we can help you problem-solve your production issues.
Among the artists who have called on our expertise are Sarah Lucas, Yinka Shonibare, TJ Wilcox and Daniel Sinsel. We have also worked extensively in creating and installing art exhibitions.
We’re often asked to produce minimalist-style furniture for galleries and collectors, but we’re always up for challenging projects. One recent assignment saw us recreating lost mahogany cabinets for the Admiral’s Bridge on HMS Belfast. Our furniture portfolio also includes libraries and bookcases for private clients, as well as bespoke kitchens.
Whether you prefer hardwoods, birch ply, painted panels or laminated Formica, we can help you work out which materials and finishes work best in your space and within your budget. We’ve become accustomed to interpreting what individuals want – even if it is not always obvious!
And of course we are happy to discuss experimental jobs.
We have worked with London's best-known retailers and fashion houses. We’re always excited to be offered the chance to lend a hand in the design process where it is appropriate, and we enjoy the challenge of working with designers to find an interesting solution within budget, then seeing it come to life in the store.
With our years of fine art and theatre scenery experience we can offer pristine and beautifully executed environments for visual merchandising.
Our background is in fine art but our roots are in woodworking
To say we are a family firm is perhaps stretching a point: our small company feels like a family and our family's roots are embedding deeply in manufacturing tradition. Tim, aged 16, was apprenticed to his grandfather in the family's Yorkshire carpentry business and Roddy’s grandfather was a cabinet maker and furniture designer.
We both left the north of England to study fine art in London: Tim at Chelsea and Roddy at Central Saint Martins and the Slade school. After graduating we became involved in the London art world, which at the time was just beginning to take off in Hackney and Shoreditch with warehouse shows and parties that brought together east London’s flourishing artistic community.
We began working together and became friends at Flint Scenery. Flint's was a great place to learn about making things. We worked there all hours, turning out theatre sets for Glyndebourne, Opera North, The National Theatre and The Vlaamse Opera.
After that we started London Art Workshop in Hackney, but we quickly found ourselves in demand in the commercial galleries of the West End. We have worked freelance at Sadie Coles HQ almost from the point at which it opened, and formed a close working relationship with Sadie and many of her artists which continues today.
Over time we have re-balanced our practice towards the workshop and wood-based projects, and it is here we feel most at home.
Tim Robinson and Roddy Thomson
Over the past 18 months we have been developing a range of furniture with the artist Sarah Lucas. The results have figured in her recent shows at the Whitechapel Gallery and Tramway Glasgow. All 14 limited-edition pieces were presented at the Milan Furniture Fair on 8 April 2014.
Tables, chairs, a bench, sofas and free-standing partition walls, these limited-edition pieces mark a dramatic new development in the artist’s practice, using materials that have previously acted as plinths for her artworks. Each piece is numbered, stamped and signed by the artist. Sarah Lucas will represent the UK at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Furniture is the plinth of our lives; it turns us into sculpture… Sarah Lucas offers a typically brutal travesty of such domestic dreams: be cool, sit on well-framed breeze blocks. It will turn you into art.
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 8 April 2014
The concrete breeze blocks used in the pieces are identically sized and have been embedded horizontally or vertically into the pale wooden frames, creating a grid-like appearance. Lucas said she used the materials because they are meaningful in terms of their uses in the outside world. They say a lot and are also low key they don't overwhelm the sculptures. The largest piece in the collection is the freestanding partition wall, a structure made from 10 by 10 concrete blocks that have been set in a uniform grid. The smallest is a table made of just one block that can slide in and out of its frame.
Using working drawings from the Belfast's photo archives and after studying the existing woodwork on the ship, we recreated lost pieces of furniture for the Admiral’s Bridge. We remade the cabinets in Brazilian mahogany, finished with traditional materials all sourced and researched by us. Finally, we refitted them to the interior of the ship.
This project, a pop-up shop within John Lewis for the fashion label Bensimon, was produced to recreate the feel of an artist’s studio. We made all the elements including the plinths and screens formed of primed canvases, and installed the set in the store.
The large canvas along the back wall was made by us and painted by Russell Oxley.
The video screens have been mounted on the backs of folding screens, in an arrangement that highlights the interrelationship of the surface for film projection and the collaged surfaces.
from Sadie Coles' gallery press release
We were directed to produce several concertina-ed structures formed from birch and timber panels as well as simple birch plywood benches and projection screens. These supporting elements formed the visual structure for TJ’s elegant collages and projections.
The Looking Glass exhibition featured custom-built responsive tables designed to show the work of 600 students in a playful and engaging environment.
Working with Moving Brands, we built and installed all the gallery furniture including the construction of the cases for the gestural tables.
For the RIBA award-winning Town Hall Hotel, Debbie Lawson created an artwork drawing on the original building's Art Deco features.
We constructed and installed a panelled room using oak veneers and solid oak mouldings specially milled for the project. The panels were cut and handed over for inlaying by Debbie, then installed.
The room was designed with regard to the historic interior and recent additions which transformed Bethnal Green Old Town Hall into the East End's first luxury hotel.
We did a lot of work for the artist Angus Fairhurst but our favourite project that we did for him was this library. It was created to a design worked out with the artist, making the most of a compact domestic space.
Made in birch ply, it incorporates discrete drawers for files and works on paper.
We have made several pieces for Daniel, all of which required a high degree of skill and accuracy. The works shown in production here were recently exhibited in London.
Some of the pieces are made using a petrified wood called bog oak, which is extremely hard, and thus very demanding to work with.
We were commissioned by the artist to make this faithful half-scale chair, which was finished in white gesso to be incorporated into a sculpture for the series Yoko.
This set was produced for the premium garden furniture brand Indian Ocean, for their concession within Selfridges, London. We made all the painted wooden components including the greenhouse structure, trees and plinths.
Taking the iconic forms of antiquity - pillar, arch, idealized human form - and focussing on the overwhelming spectacle that defines the Fascist style, Horowitz questions its proximity to more generic trends in popular culture. Horowitz's democratic use of readily available materials is in keeping with the everyman political spirit that lies behind the work.
from Sadie Coles' gallery press release
This large arch structure envisaged by the artist was engineered by us using a system of voided-out ply plates which then formed a substructure laminated with panels imported from the United States to create an entirely plastic-faced structure. The arch was made in two sections, and we joined it on site in the gallery.