Woodworker Of The Month
Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Daniel Poole’s timber furniture is made by hand in Melbourne with meticulous attention to detail and quality.
Based in Collingwood, the designer operates out of a workshop/warehouse that he has outfitted with machinery, one off pieces, and materials. The space is filled with natural light from large north-facing windows. The quiet street offers Dan a peaceful place to practise, making his design process free from distraction.
“Product design is my main motivation really,” says Dan. “I went to Uni for one year and did Industrial Design here in Melbourne. I recall being frustrated with the limitations of University, of what you can do. If you’re going to do something then do your best job of it, that’s how I approach things. At uni the first thing they tell you, understandably, is to not be proud of your work. The course pushed for us to not take much pride in our work so we could churn it out. I realised that wasn’t for me. I want to make one thing really well that I’m proud of.”
This ethos and approach to woodwork is visible in the finer details of Dan’s pieces. Undertaking an apprenticeship across two Melbourne furniture studios, Dan experienced the pleasure in crafting one-off items and the process of making batch orders.
“I worked with Nick Coyle of Wilder Coyle. I did 18 months with them before they moved up to Pambula on the New South Wales coast. Wilder Coyle were so Melbourne, they had a workshop on Brunswick Street and it was just the best. I think that’s why I’m still here. I loved it.”
Experience in a slower, design-centric studio engaged Dan to learn and create, not just produce; shaping his practice today. A more considered approach to design and crafting is evident in the detail of Dan’s work.
“I worked for two and half years with another mob in Coburg. It was really different, much more business orientated. I still learnt a lot there but I was an apprentice under a lot of pressure to make products for sale,” he explains.
This aversion to mass production stems from Dan’s preferred slower, considered approach to design, explaining that good design is often sacrificed for the sake of large scale production.
“I don’t think there’s any personality or individuality in [mass produced products]. I think people like to have nice things but it’s also about affordability, it’s a cycle and we will grow to learn that mass consumption isn’t always right.”
While Dan’s passion lies in product design and crafting, he places great importance on the quality materials that he uses. Sourcing fittings locally, Dan works with premium grade timbers that are malleable and rich in texture.
“I like American Black Walnut. I have a supplier with a great mill where they only produce this timber. It’s a common tree in the US and so they don’t hold it in as high regard as they should. It’s really user-friendly and easy to machine. It doesn’t fight you as it’s a fibrous timber, so it’s responds well to router cutters.”
“Scandinavian style involves a lot of shaping so it’s actually really simple furniture, but they’ve used a lot of cutters to get those round edges.”
Dan’s work borrows from the Scandinavian aesthetic; it’s simple and functional, using quality craftsmanship and premium materials to create a personality that can be felt with each use.
After a brief hiatus, Dan returned to his craft under eponymous label Daniel Poole with a fresh perspective and newfound enthusiasm.
“One thing the break has given me is a re-established sense of where that balance needs to be for me to live off what I do. I’m doing this for a living, I considered doing it as a passion but it’s become my identity, I love working with wood.”
The quality lies in fine timber and fittings and time spent ensuring that each piece is something Dan is happy to put his name to.
“I want to just pay my rent and walk away with a portfolio of 2017 that has pieces I’m proud of.”