Artistic Industrial’s story begins over 25 years ago…
It was upon leaving school in the late eighties that we find our man at the helm Stuart Cotterill first discovering his passion for furniture, whilst working at one of the largest salvage furniture companies in the country. A sprawling Worcestershire farmstead with dozens of storage buildings and workshops brimming with school, church, factory, and MOD surplus furniture and workshop equipment.
The frequent arrival of lorries containing hundreds of lab stools, desks, and lockers all under the watchful eye of a shotgun carrying elderly boss could be seen as a daunting experience, but once the stock was unloaded and restoration work began it made for an extremely enjoyable job and the beginning of a need for hands on creative ventures.
It’s whilst at art college studying three dimensional design in 1990 that Stuart starts to specialise in designing and creating unique contemporary furniture and lighting of his own. Working through design concepts and using a variety of materials, utilising reclaimed timber, metals, glass, and discarded industrial objects, all cunningly combined with fresh design ideas and fashioned into contemporary functional items.
Following on to further education; Stuart specialises in large scale metalwork and design metals with a continued passion for creating one-off contemporary furniture and lighting pieces.
Whilst mastering the art of blacksmithing, metal manipulation, and discovering just how far you can push workshop machinery; It’s at this point that “Artistic Industrial furniture and lighting” becomes the chosen descriptive term for the work that Stuart’s producing.
A few years pass with a consistent hand in design, working through graphic design portfolios, shop fitting, and working at busy traditional blacksmiths, all whilst designing and making his own furniture pieces from a small home garage now with a firm idea for the need to set up his own workshop.
Over the following years time is spent working from friends workshops creating a portfolio of what would become the bag of tricks needed to aid with business set up. Liaising with The Princes Trust whilst working on an architectural metalwork site commission for one of their Midlands head offices, it’s in the year 2000 that Stuart’s leap from garage to fully functioning blacksmiths workshop is achieved as our sister company Genuine Forgery – Artisan Blacksmiths officially open their Worcestershire based workshop and start trading.
Zipping forward to 2015 and Genuine Forgery continue to produce traditional and contemporary metalwork for domestic and commercial use. From hand forged curtain poles, furniture, garden structures, shop fittings, sculpture, and just about anything else you can make by whacking hot steel.
The majority of Genuine Forgery’s work is bespoke, made to measure, and designed to meet a clients brief predominantly within the traditional realms, with the odd exciting contemporary or industrial project allowing Stuart to get back to his contemporary design roots. Whether it’s working on a single character piece for a small home, or a large run of shop fittings or restaurant furniture, the emphasis is always upon well made functional items providing an equal amount of attention to detail regardless of scale or quantity.
For a number of years the idea of setting up a sister company to Genuine Forgery with the intention of providing hand forged/ hand crafted industrial furniture and lighting has been on the cards. One of the key factors that led to the decision to set up Artistic Industrial to run in unison with Genuine Forgery is to provide high quality industrial furniture for both domestic and commercial retail clients, and also due to Stuart’s personal passion for restoring or bringing new life into vintage, industrial, rough luxe, antique furniture and objects.
Up until recent years there’s always been a battle to convince the majority of people that an old workbench, a bespoke industrial light, or repurposed factory oddments are fitting pieces for use or decoration within the home. Twenty years on and it’s now one of the most sought after home and high street interior design styles that combined with choosing the right pieces, goes to prove that the bits that were only fit for the shed or skip of yesteryear are now very much worthy of home or shop use.
Almost twenty five years on and we’re back to our Artistic Industrial roots, providing a welcome resource for anyone looking for something unique and well made when the marketplace is awash with mass produced “industrial style” furniture that may lack a little quality craftsmanship.
With Artistic Industrial, Stuart aims to offer a better alternative with a hands on personal service and provide equally interesting found items too.
Artistic Industrial is back and our work is exactly what our name says it is.