Tim Walker Studio was founded in 2016. As a designer, he likes to emphasize originality. Between raw material and sensuality of form, each piece is unique and handmade in his London workshop. Paying particular attention to the surface, texture and tone of the object created, Tim explores the use of recycled construction waste and lightweight construction mortar.
As a designer-maker, Tim likes to put an emphasis on originality where every piece is unique and exclusively handmade at his London studio, paying particular attention to surface, texture and tone.
He is currently exploring the use of recycled construction waste and lightweight building mortar. His most recent collection of work demonstrates, through various casting techniques, how these materials can be applied to produce a collection of contemporary interior products, whilst addressing the need for reducing commercial and industrial waste.
What made you want to become a designer?
My father studied carpentry at university so as I grew up I had access to a workshop at home and learnt at an early age how to use basic hand tools. I loved the smell and feel of wood. I’d spend time in school holidays making models out of scrap pieces of timber. I remember that unique feeling of satisfaction and pride having successfully translated an idea into an object. To be happy and content with your own work is a wonderful feeling, one that is very specific, it almost becomes addictive. It’s this feeling that I strive for when embarking on a new project. I guess you could call it being a bit of a perfectionist!
After a year at art school I went to study 3D design at University and later moved to London finding work at an art fabrication company where I still freelance occasionally. I was fortunate enough to work for many internationally acclaimed artists and designers such as Rachel Whiteread, Established and Sons, Helen Marten, Antony Gormley, Ryan Gander, Eddie Peake, Alison Wilding and Brodie Neill.
Having been surrounded with this level of creative stimulation and influence on a daily basis, I was inspired to set up my own design studio and begin producing my own work.
Do you have a preferred material? If so, which one? Is it related to a particular meeting or event?
I mainly use materials suitable for casting into moulds.
I really enjoy working with Jesmonite. It’s an acrylic based resin that is very versatile. The natural finish is very much like plaster with a soft, matte surface finish.
I’m currently using a lightweight concrete repair mortar. I reinforce it with glass fibre matting to reduce weight and the amount of material needed as well as giving additional strength.
I recently started to experiment with recycled crushed construction waste sourced from a local waste centre. I was shocked to find out how much waste is produced by the construction industry. According to a government survey, about 59% of total UK waste was generated in 2014.
My most recent collection of work demonstrates, through various casting techniques, how these materials can be applied to produce a collection of contemporary interior products, whilst addressing the need for tackling and reducing commercial and industrial waste.
In the future I’d like to work more with wood and possibly metal and explore the possibilities of using other recycled materials.
What type of product do you design?
For me, lighting is one of the most important elements of any interior. It has such an influential effect on how we act, feel and perceive a space. Most of my work centers around ceiling and pendant lights. I concentrate on creating different textures through the use of materials. Considering the pendant light internally and externally. Developing contrasts between the two.Thinking about the aesthetic of the overall form as well as the quality of light. There’s a lot to play around with!
Because everything is handmade, each piece is unique. It’s almost impossible to make two exactly the same. This is why making them is so much fun, there’s always an element of surprise when they first come out of the mould.
Summarise your approach to design.
Although I welcome the advances in technology such as CNC milling and 3D printing, for me, there’s no substitute to forming, sculpting, making an object by hand. I love how ideas materialise organically and a lot of the time unexpectedly. It may seem outdated these days but I like the flexibility and the feeling of being able to make decisions and alterations at any time throughout the design process. Sometimes you have to feel and see an object in its true form and scale to be able to evaluate it properly. Adding a bit here, taking a bit off there. Resculpting an edge. Being in control of the outcome, for me it’s important.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
I would say colour and texture.
The starting point of your creations?
Ideas tend to stem from previous projects. I like to try and reuse the moulds I already have and see if I can create something new using the same starting point. A lampshade could be altered to become a bowl and vice versa. I make all of the moulds myself as well as the masters, the whole process is very hands on. Ideas change regularly. There are so many avenues to explore!
The object you created that you are most proud of and why?
I think it’d have to be the Wall Clock. It has a very simple, minimal look to it but in reality, creating it with its various parts and sections was far from simple! It took about four different attempts at getting the moulds to work consistently. I almost gave up on the whole idea a few times! It felt like a bit of an accomplishment to eventually produce the finished product. I’m really happy with it.
What would have been your job if not a designer?
I’ve always had an interest in teaching. I’m not sure in what form or at what level, but I’d like to go into it at some point in my life. I’d like to maybe use the creative field of Art and Design to inspire and help children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I think as a subject it can be used as a powerful tool to build confidence. Help communicate. It can be used as a form of escape free from boundaries.
Has there been a person or event that has been influential?
Rachel Whiteread is one of my favourite artists. I’ve assisted on many of her recent projects. She has certainly had a big influence on me and my work. I really appreciate her skill and ability as a mould maker and sculptor as well as the fine detail of her work, it’s incredibly inspiring.
I’d also like to say my wife. I don’t think I’d be at this stage of my practice without her encouragement and support.
A favourite colour
I love the colour of corroded metals. The earthy warmth of rust and the blue, greens of oxidised copper. I’ve tried to integrate these hues and tones in my most recent body of work.