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1st Feb 2018

Interview with James Knight; 9 years of cabinetry with BarrJoinery

James Knight, BarrJoinery surveyor, designer and project manager started work with the Barr Group as an apprentice, 9 years ago. Last week was his 30th birthday, (whoop whoop!) and we took the opportunity to publicly embarrass him by celebrating his contribution to BarrJoinery on line. “His talent for bringing stunning pieces of cabinetry to life and his gentle ever-present sense of humour make him an asset to the organisation.” says BarrJoinery Director Josh Hudson, “James did once try to escape from the Barr Group fold but was, of course, quickly lured back - never to stray again!”

We asked James a few questions about his time with BarrJoinery and his cabinetry highlights of the past 9 years.

James, can you tell us a bit more about the BarrJoinery design and manufacturing process?

“The design concept often comes from the minds or drawings of the individual client, the architect or interior designer. We then work out the best way to manufacture the commission, sourcing parts, materials, wood and producing production drawings which give exact specifications to ensure the ultimate in form and function. Once signed off the workshop can start on the production process. With other jobs the client simply delivers a brief, we start the design process completely from scratch producing concept drawings ourselves and seeing them through from design phase to perfect finish. The BarrJoinery workshop is just downstairs so there is close communication with the team throughout.  Trained as a cabinet maker - I find it very hard to stay away from the workshop for long!”.

Could you give us your top five favourite cabinetry projects with BarrJoinery and tell us why?

1)     South Cottage Wardrobes: Walnut cupboards with sliding shoe shelves and lit cedar internals. Designed by the architect-client, this job was challenging in many ways. Great craftsmanship was required, and the finished piece is the product of much thought and great attention to detail from the guys downstairs. “The BarrJoinery team successfully implemented my vision, to a very high standard”  Brian Tracey, client and architect.

2)    The Coach House library-bed system: Again, the challenge was to turn concept drawings into reality, in a piece where both form and function are so important. The whole team embraced this challenge and enjoyed working for a really great client. Thank you to Wolff Archtects for a really interesting cabinetry challenge.

3)    Lake House Wine Room – the finished look of this project is what it was really all about – industrial and moody, with Buster and Punch lighting - the wine room just draws you in.  The vision for the design came directly from our client. 

4)    ‘What's Cooking?’ front of house cabinetry. The design for ‘What's Cooking?’ deli and lunch restaurant in Thame was fresh and well thought out, “it was a pleasure to translate the designs and to manufacture and fit for the team”.  

5)    Last but not least “James Bond” dressing room, part of the SLEEP exhibition set for the Japanese design house Mitsui Design Tech has got to feature in my top 5. The dressing room was just the start; there was also the oak sculpted champagne bath with green wall backdrop - definitely one not to be forgotten! Thank you to Mitsui for trusting us to bring their vision to life.

What makes BarrJoinery different from other joinery and cabinetry houses?

“The BarrJoinery team follows two golden rules: ‘Anything is Possible’ & ‘Attention to Detail is Everything’ and as a result the workshop is often the birthplace to some truly stunning and unusual creations. The workshop team thrive on a challenge and the clients, design houses and architects we work for seem to have no shortage of them. Every day and every commission is different; from off-the-wall show pieces to whole houses of made to measure joinery”. 

You will be pleased to hear that James has now completely recovered from his birthday celebrations and is back to his drawing board!

For more stories on the BarrJoinery adventures click to news/53/

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