Young artist Josh Rose spent several years experimenting with designs and came up with an innovative solution – flat-pack furniture.
But the result couldn’t be more different than the boxes you put in your car after struggling around huge megastores – and his work is now starting to make a splash in trendy cafes and offices.
Mr Rose, 27, said: “I’m an artist and designer. After doing a furniture-making course I tried different ways of using artists’ work as surfaces for tables and chairs, and eventually came up with something that works. It’s incredibly hard-wearing and easy to assemble.
“We use a large format printer and we put the patterns on to the plywood – we came up with the idea of selling it as a flat pack.”
The first breakthrough for his furniture design company, This Way Up, came when he won a contract for 150 workspaces, via The Nudge Group, an architecture and digital media consultancy which is designing new offices for Bristol City Council.
Now, with his girlfriend Amy Anderson, he has opened a shop called Love Your Plane just a stone’s throw from where he grew up in East Oxford, to act as a showcase for his own work and designs by fellow artists.
He said: “The name is a reference to the carpenter’s tool. It’s our symbol, and a homage to carpentry and crafts.”
A former pupil of Peers School, Littlemore – now the Oxford Academy – Mr Rose took a foundation art course at Banbury before doing a fine arts degree in Bristol, followed by a furniture design course.
Having set up his business in Bristol, he has now expanded to London as well as Oxford.
He said: “We are selling art prints, cards, all kinds of gifts, all by independent designers and artists. I make all the furniture myself and we have some here for people to see.”
At the moment, all the furniture is designed by Mr Rose, but he eventually hopes to provide a platform for other artists.
It is all made in the UK – mostly in West Oxfordshire – using responsibly and sustainably sourced birch wood.
As well as seating and tables, the range includes storage and flooring, and can be made using the customer’s own design.
He is keen to work on community projects and hopes to join the planning for the new Sandford village hub.
The shop, at 247 Iffley Road, is open 10am-6pm.