A Language in Wood
Designer craftsman: furniture, interiors and garden features
Petter Southall’s unique and beautiful designs incorporate exceptional pieces of solid wood which he steam bends into lyrical curves, arches, twists and rings. His Scandinavian sense of design and understanding of wood is coupled with exceptional craftsmanship.
Petter has been designing and making his distinctive furniture in his Dorset studio since 1991. He has made hundreds of private commissions from dining rooms to desks to bedrooms and outdoor seating. His furniture is in public spaces, on sculpture trails, in working and corporate reception areas, dining rooms and boardrooms as well as in hospital gardens and sanctuaries.
An unusually gifted designer, he is also an uncompromising craftsman with an eye for detail and proportion that is second to none. He came to furniture making from a background of building traditional wooden boats in his native Norway. His work combines boatbuilding techniques such as steam bending and the use of copper rivets with classical and more intuitive cabinet making to create a truly innovative language in wood.
‘Deceptively simple yet utterly sophisticated … the objects of my desire are made by the furniture designer Petter Southall, who opened Sladers Yard with his wife, Anna Powell, in 2006 as a showroom for his work and also a space to exhibit and sell the output of other local artists and craftspeople. The result is an atmospheric gallery… Visit this wonderful place.’ Read the rest of the article here.Caroline Palmer Financial Times, How To Spend It, August 2012.
Petter loves to work in solid timber – especially varieties of oak – which feels authentic and true to the touch. Like any natural material, wood reacts to its environment and requires the deep knowledge and skill that Petter brings to his craft. He has always been highly aware of the environmental impact of his work, using wood that is ethically sourced to encourage good forestry, and only working in timbers native to Northern Europe, with no tropical hardwoods. Petter often uses copper rivets, avoiding the use of glues and composites as much as possible, in order to avoid unhealthy emissions and any delamination (when glues fail after time). His work is designed to enhance life, as so many of Petter’s loyal customers and visitors to Sladers Yard have discovered to their pleasure.
How to commission…
To commission a piece of furniture, a whole interior or a steam-bent structure, please contact Petter’s showroom, Sladers Yard Gallery on email@example.com or call 44 (0)1308 459511.
3 replies on “Petter Southall”
I recently visited Sladers Yard and was very impressed by your furniture, in particular the “twisted” mirror and was wondering if you would consider a commission to make a similar one but in a smaller scale to fit in a cottage I have recently bought in Brudport?
With best wishes Sally White
I revisited your studio a few months ago and wasn’t disappointed. It’s always interesting to see the work of local artists, as well as Petter’s of course!
However it’s the studio itself that I find so appealingly. You have created a lovely atmosphere here with the lightest of touches. I love your choice of timber banister rails for example…is this poplar wood?
Looking forward very much to my next visit.
Thank you so much for your really kind comments. Yes, all the panelling and bannisters we have put in to Sladers Yard are aged and weathered poplar from the top of various timber piles. I think the charm is partly in the lack of machined straight lines. Much less wastage to follow the lines of the wood and spend a little time fitting the pieces as they would have done in the past.