We are so excited to have you feature on our blog! Tell us a little bit about yourselves, your brand and how it started.
We started Swarf at the very end of 2018. We’d always wanted to work on a project together and we struck upon the idea of a hardware brand when we couldn’t find any handles we liked for our own kitchen. I have a background in homes and interiors magazines and Sam designs metalwork for galleries, architects and artists, so it felt like we had the right skills between us to do something that nobody else was doing.
Image by Douglas Pulman @notthatkindoffilm
Where do you find inspiration when designing your products?
We are largely driven by the making process. We use manual machining in most of our designs, so many of our pieces come from experimenting with removing material from a solid piece of metal through milling or turning on a lathe. All our products are named in honour of British machine manufacturers from the 19th and 20th century – the UK has an amazing manufacturing heritage and we’re really keen to keep those traditional machining skills alive.
What has been your biggest hurdle so far in creating Swarf?
We’ve grown the business organically without any funding or investment, which has been a challenge at times. We are a small business and there’s a lot of competition from larger companies who make their products in China or abroad, but making in the UK is really important to us and is something we’ll never compromise on. We also have other jobs alongside Swarf, so finding time to develop new products is sometimes tricky!
If you could go back in time to the beginning of Swarf, what advice would you give yourselves?
Trust your instincts. They are usually right! I would also say don’t be shy about asking contacts for help or advice. You never know what could come out of it.
What has been your biggest achievement since creating Swarf?
A Big moment for us was when The Conran Shop got in touch and asked to stock our products. Seeing our handles alongside iconic designs in their Fulham Road store definitely feels like a big achievement. Seeing our designs installed in beautiful spaces will never get old and it’s very rewarding to know our products will be used everyday and will last a very long time.
You’ve done some beautiful projects, including one of our favourite houses, Tierney Terrace. Do you have a favourite project so far?
We love the diversity of the spaces that our designs have ended up in! It’s too hard to pick just one, though.
Tierney Terrace Image by Chris Snook @snookphotograph
We noticed you’ve done a collaboration with designer Adam Nathanial Furman, who we also love! Do you have any more collaborations in the pipeline?
Yes, hopefully! Collaborating with like-minded creative people is great fun and takes you to places you might not have ended up in by yourself. We’d love to work with Adam again. We can’t reveal too much yet but we’re also working with a lifestyle brand on our first non hardware product which should be launching in November.
Symbols Collection Brass & Coloured
Symbols Collection Coloured & White
We love your business ethos towards making less of an impact on the planet. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Sustainability is always at the forefront of our minds. All our products are made in the UK and whatever we can’t produce in-house is made within a 5-mile radius of our workshop in Essex. We also make our products in small batches, meaning there’s no surplus or unwanted stock. Then there’s the fact that our products are made from metal, an endlessly recyclable material which is very durable and will last a lifetime if cared for. We offer a refinishing service for customers who want to restore designs to look brand new again, too. Finally All our packaging is recycled and recyclable and we offer a cycle delivery service for customers in certain postcodes for a small donation to Friends of the Earth.
Do you have a favourite Swarf product?
One of our favorites is the Myford handle. It was one of our early designs and although simple, it sums up our approach to customisation and the benefits of making in-house. We can easily scale up (or down) the length and proportions to suit the needs of a particular project.
Lastly, if you had to pick a light from houseof which one would be on your wishlist?
We love the Corner Wall Light and the Opal Disc Wall Lights for their simple, pleasing geometry.
houseof brass corner wall light