Rus­sell Pinch

Founder, PINCH (www.pinchde­

Country Life Every Week - - Another Country -


Ev­ery piece we have in our range is made by hand, but that doesn’t pre­clude the use of tech­nol­ogy where it’s ap­pli­ca­ble. We want our pieces to feel hu­man and in­stinc­tive and this re­lies on the hu­man eye, the ex­ten­sion of the hand, to lock into a par­tic­u­lar tim­ber grain or the drape of a piece of ba­nana fi­bre and that sen­si­tiv­ity can­not be achieved in au­to­mated mak­ing.

Craft ver­sus tech­nol­ogy

We shouldn’t be afraid of dig­i­tal or CNC tech­nol­ogy—it af­fords progress and is sim­ply an el­e­ment of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion. The prob­lem arises when you let tech­nol­ogy take over and rely on it en­tirely.

CNC ma­chines

In fur­ni­ture mak­ing, it’s mostly about eco­nomic ef­fi­ciency—we can’t be com­pet­i­tive if we make ev­ery part by hand. How­ever, there are also times where it in­forms the de­sign: for ex­am­ple, the master of one of our large-cast NIM ta­bles is sculpted by hand, how­ever, we wanted a jux­ta­po­si­tion be­tween the top be­ing a per­fectly formed disc and the sides be­com­ing more and more rough and tex­tu­ral. We used a CNC milling ma­chine for the top to en­sure an in­tensely per­fect fin­ish (un­achiev­able by the hu­man hand), but had the side el­e­ments hand-sculpted to be ir­reg­u­lar and er­ratic as only hu­mans know how to be.


In cer­tain ways, CAD is won­der­ful as it al­lows you to let your imag­i­na­tion run wild and bring those ideas to life on a screen, but, in the fur­ni­ture world, I find this to be a hand­i­cap as much as an ad­van­tage. Too many fur­ni­ture de­signs look as if they’ve been de­signed on screen and thrust off a pro­duc­tion line.


In our stu­dio, model mak­ing or sculpt­ing is even more im­por­tant. We only de­sign in sketches and mod­els. I think there’s no quicker way to try an idea than a sketch on pa­per, than go­ing straight into a 1:5 model made from what­ever is nec­es­sary: balsa wood, fab­ric or card. This is where the magic hap­pens—we can hold the item in our hands and feel it.

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