September 2017 marks 40 years since courses first began at Parnham College, the world famous design school created by John Makepeace OBE, that trained a fascinating new generation of international designers, whose work has changed contemporary design ever since.
Honouring this milestone anniversary, John Makepeace, winner of the 2016 Prince Philip Designers Prize, this September, releases Beyond Parnham – a limited-edition, 184-page book, detailing Parnham College’s innovative vision and cultural legacy, revealing highly personal reflections from over 100 renowned Parnham alumni and the esteemed tutors who trained them.
On 5th September, The Matter of Making takes place at the Design Museum in London, an event which sees this launch of one of the most exclusive books, award-winning furniture maker’s, John Makepeace OBE, ‘Beyond Parnham.’ Featuring an impressive line-up of speakers including Catharine Rossi, Glenn Adamson, Richard Sennett and John Makepeace himself, join a first-class discussion concerning the importance design and craftsmanship.
Born in 1939, John Makepeace’s interest in wood started at an early age and after visiting a furniture workshop at eleven years old, this passion was only enhanced. The experience then went onto heavily influence his exceptional future career. Having heard of the extraordinary furniture that was being crafted over in Scandinavia, John travelled there in order to witness the incredible work. This, too, inspired him greatly as it was his introduction into craftsmanship that blended both innovative design and progressive technology. John was headstrong and dedicated in his drive for furniture-making, even when his mentor, Keith Cooper, informed him not to expect to make a living out of his work. Entirely proving him wrong, John now boasts the astounding achievement of having received an OBE for his services in furniture design and many more commendable awards were granted over the years, such as the Prince Philip Designers Prize 2016 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. Currently John now works on commission, crafting exclusive and bespoke projects each year and his work continues to be represented in distinguished museums, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Another extremely notable achievement in John Makepeace’s life is the founding of Parnham College at Parnham House, Dorset, in 1977. Having been dissatisfied with Britain’s inadequate teaching in craftsmanship at the time, John created the college and strove to improve it by combining design, construction and business into their teaching with a human-centred approach. This was most certainly achieved and after receiving his OBE in 1998, John commented that not only was it an honour for him but also an admirable “reflection of our work at Parnham and the team here.” With an immersive 2 year residential course, including frequent demanding days and many esteemed guest lecturers, a number of Parnham’s college alumni also went on to become award-winning designers. This include Sean Sutcliffe of Benchmark and David Linley of LINLEY, among many others whose admirable work has been inspired by John Makepeace’s college. Despite the Parnham College having been sold in 2001, its notable alumni only proves the strength of its spirit that lives on today.
It has been forty years since Parnham College’s opening and to honour this commendable milestone, John Makepeace is releasing Beyond Parnham. This limited edition book has been printed in only 1000 exclusive copies and features 184 pages of numerous images, as well as intimate reflections and anecdotes from previous alumni and tutors of the college. The book allows readers an in-depth and personal review of John’s unique, progressive teaching and how it inspired and shaped former pupils’ future careers. Read the stories that built both John and Parnham College’s reputation, and read how both are still flourishing today.
A reflection of our work at Parnham and the team here
Beyond Parnham is to be launched at the Design Museum on the 5th September during the The Matter of Making event. This will bring together some of the leading voices in design to talk about the present state and possible future of craftsmanship during our current digital age, which is particularly relevant due to Parnham College previously honing in especially on human-led design and craftsmanship. Not only will John Makepeace be present during this panel and for Q&A sessions, he will also be signing copies of Beyond Parnham at the event and guests will have the chance to win editions themselves through a giveaway of this limited edition book.
The Launch Of Beyond Parnham
5th September at the Design Museum
The Matter of Making
18:15 – 19: 45
Tickets for the general public available here.
Shop Beyond Parnham here.