A love and admiration for the natural world has gone a long way in to shaping Toby Howes as the designer we see him today. In 1990 he graduated from Kings College, London ,with a degree in Ecology before going on to spend more than a decade working with various organisations which all served a common purpose, to reduce the impact man has on the environment. It only naturally follows that all of Toby’s materials are sourced ethically from sustainable FSC approved local timber yards. However Toby’s time as an ecologist has influenced more than the matter of where he chooses to buy his timber from, ultimately informing his entire make-up and ethos as designer.
What fascinated Toby was the frailty of ecosystems, how the slightest alterations can have the most immense consequences beyond the immediately perceivable or instantly apparent, a notion which runs richly through his work. Because behind the simple presentation of Toby’s work and beyond the smooth and graceful lines. There often lies a web of intricate fabrication, an imaginative, purposeful function. His highly praised drinks cabinet is a superb example of how this idea is realised in his work. Beautiful but relatively un-complex in its appearance, what’s revealed by this piece is truly astounding. The cabinet is opened by turning the top to reveal an illuminated space for bottle and glass storage, by no means a simple feat. Elegant and understated on the surface of things the brilliance in this designers work is to be found in what we have to look a little further for, and the pleasure in doing so is all ours.
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