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A Royal Connection Through Design

Queenstown furniture designer Ed Cruikshank’s favourite pieces are those which bring people together to connect and share their stories.

“I love designing dining tables, big luxurious sofas and other pieces, like games tables, that get people together. I increasingly believe that without a deeper meaning, something that relates on a personal level, things remain just things. It’s the connection to other people that sets them apart as meaningful.”

Ed began life as custom furniture designer in the U.K. over 30 years ago, falling in love with craftsmanship while studying cabinet making in Oxford, then graduating with a degree in industrial design in London.

“I discovered that coupling the two disciplines created objects that could endure then spent the next ten years developing these skills alongside David Linley in London. In the last few years with him I designed and project managed some of their special projects such as the limited-edition Linley Range Rover and an Auckland built super yacht interior.”

That project was the ‘waka’ which brought him to New Zealand. Initially arriving in Queenstown for a ski season he saw the potential of setting up his own design practice in the resort where he remains today as an established and sought after designer of enduring bespoke pieces.

Ed is working more and more on designs where he physically embeds meaning into the furniture through his braille concept.

“Often it is subtle, depicted in code so it remains private. The braille idea began with my 1821 table which I designed in 2010 for an art exhibition in Wellington. The table had 108 segments representing the number of artists involved and was made from walnut and blued steel , the same material guns are made from. The idea was to build something that had the opposite reason for existing.”

Using an inverted braille, Ed encoded Martin Luther King’s immortal words – “ I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Ed is often asked by clients to embed messages into the furniture he designs for them. His favourite is a table which is at the heart of a family home.

“At its centre a series of carefully placed bolts connect the table structure, holding the table and in turn the family together. The bolts spell the word ‘love’ in braille.”

Most of Ed’s work today revolves around connection and stories – “I design and build everything to be long lasting and ultimately they span generations and carry stories and memories of the people we love and share out lives with.”