Designer behind Fordius design

Would you like to know more about Rich, our founder and main designer?


Rich has been working with wood for as long as he can remember.  His mum recalls he wanted to work on his earliest efforts in a shed, so his first main project was to build a shed.

Furniture design has been something he has enjoyed throughout his career.  When he realised there were parts of the process he was having to outsource, he invested in the software, machinery, training and team that has made Fordius possible.

Which of the current ranges came first?

The Apex was where Fordius began.  A friend had asked for a bespoke piece but the only brief was a heavy weathered finish and a white wash/lime effect.  I requested that they give me free reign on the rest.  I was keen to create something that appeared to float on its frame.  The piece came out better than I had hoped but I realised I could do even better with some additional tools for designing and in the workshop.  This is where is all began really.  I realised there was a gap in the market for skilfully, handmade manufacture of customer tailored furniture.

Where do your design ideas come from?

They come from everything I see.  I’m not sure I think ‘Wow! That’s cool – I want to make something like that’ but forms, shapes, concepts mull around in my mind.  I don’t give much attention to other people’s work as I believe you would inevitably end up copying to some extent.

Your range has a lot of oak and steel - why these materials?

Because they are the best!  In my opinion, anyway.  Oak is such a great wood, which has always been associated with quality.  The things you can do with it suit my purpose.  It takes stain extremely well for a hardwood and is strong and stable.  I wanted the steel to create striking contrast.  I needed the steel quality to compliment the grade of wood we were working with, as I think this falls woefully short in many combination designs.  There are clearly some designs that work better as one material, but I am very proud of the combined range.

The other steel consideration was to make delivery and moving of these large pieces as straightforward as possible.  Most of our designs break down easily into 3 or 4 parts that can be reconstructed in 5 minutes.

What is your design process?  Do you start with a sketch?

I do start with a 2D sketch, which sets up the size and shaping.  Once I am happy with this, I create the 3D parts, which come together in a 3D assembly.  The software is a massive advantage here, it is incredible what it delivers for you.  We then create the render to add colour and finishes and place the model into an environment.  This is vital for a bespoke project to be agreed – it really brings a design to life.

Who or what brands represent great design to you?

As I say, I don’t dwell on other designers as I don’t want to bring other people’s ideas into my designs but Ercol is enduring.  The other one is Ikea. Yes, I know, but there systems are clever, a million miles from what we do but still inspirin

What is next to design?

A range called .’Fold’ is coming next. This will be a little different as the current designs are oak with steel elements, these will be the other way round.  I have some basic sketches and know there will be around 5-6 pieces in the range. These will be stools, smaller tables and some breakfast bar stool, chairs and benches.