Wycombe’s design story reaches back to the Art & Crafts movement, which took hold in Britain in the late 1800s and was based around the ideals of simplicity, nature, and traditional craft skills – principles which we, too, champion. The style of the Wycombe family is drawn directly from the famous Sussex chair which Morris & Co. presented in 1869, our design echoing its squared frame, woven seat, backrest spindles, and modest aesthetic. Wycombe is a wholly contemporary take on the Sussex chair though, updating its characteristics in line with modern furniture design sentiment. The iconic spindles, woven seat, oak frame, tapered shapes and craft-centric components remain, but each is considered from a contemporary viewpoint – wood is paler, finishes are subtler, shapes are more minimal, and the overall effect beautifully, timelessly simple. (We’ve written more about Wycombe’s historical influences here.)
The collection began with the Wycombe dining chair and its folding counterpart, one of our most innovative pieces of furniture. It looks almost identical to the fixed version, but has the ability to flatten for easy, freestanding storage (read more about it here). Then followed a more relaxed take on the seat: the Wycombe armchair, which is a lower slung, more slouchy evolution of the original dining chair, incorporating comfortable arms and a broader width (find out more about the transformation from dining to living in this article).
Each addition to the Wycombe family has been carefully considered, mirroring the established style of the collection and extending it further into the home. The bar stool, for instance, stands tall on elongated, tapered oak legs, which host a discreet foot rail for added comfort, ready to slide neatly under a breakfast bar. We’ve created benches which showcase the humble beauty of woven paper cord on their lengthened seats, coming with or without a decorative spindle back (which you can read more about in this blog), and a short stool too which can double as a side table. While the dining tables include a rectangular design with angled spindle-like legs, and a rounded style which creates a point of difference from the collection’s usually angular features.
You’ll find a handful of materials across these pieces. There are the pale paper cord seats (known as Danish cord), which are expertly woven in an understated yet ornamental technique – detailing which adds a tactile contrast to the softness of the timber. And then the round tables can also be topped with a slice of lightly veined marble. The material that draws each Wycombe piece together as a whole though is white American oak sourced from the Appalachian mountain region. With a smooth, characterful grain, the timber is not only strong and durable but also incredibly sustainable, with at least two trees naturally growing back in the place of every harvested trunk. Protected with our oil-based Natural Oak IsoGuard finish which emphasises the wood’s inherent beauty, the collection has an exceedingly organic feel. We like to think that William Morris would have approved.