Founded in 2009 by architect and maker Craig Bamford, London based SASA Works brings a holistic approach to architecture, furniture and objects. Craig works with artist Louise Isik Sayarer to create work that fuses art, architect, craftspeople, and the environment. Seeking to create a poetic and refined relationship between materials and space, SASA Works produces work which brings joy into everyday functional objects.
Founded in 2009 by architect, artist and maker Craig Bamford, London based SASA Works brings a holistic approach to architecture, furniture and objects. Craig works with artist Isik Sayarer to create work that fuses art and craft with a deep and sacred relationship to ecology. Seeking to create a poetic and refined relationship between materials and space, SASA Works produces work which brings joy into everyday functional objects.
Seeking to create pieces for contemplation and focusing on the notion that the practice of architecture encompasses everything from buildings to artwork for the home, SASA Works strives to combine sustainable materials and a refined design aesthetic in their work. Isik and Craig work on the designs together and then Craig crafts the pieces in SASA Works’ London workshop using a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques.
1. What motivates you to make?
I am inspired by the quest to create beauty and sacred form, using elemental materials to blend contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship. I believe that the objects we have around us have the power to inspire, heal and uplift our mood, and I am continuously motivated to develop pieces that embody something of this.
I seek to make pieces that bring a dynamic harmony to spaces. Pieces that in their proportion, are inspired by the laws of nature and ways of the universe. A form that instills creative and expansive energy in the user and the inhabitant of space.
2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?
Carlo Scarpa is one of my inspirations. The use of materials as the center of the design process captured my way of thinking whilst studying architecture. Throughout my practice I have sought to create designs with a focus on the essential materiality and workability of the piece – this in turn becomes the detail, patterning and texture.
This inspiration, and way of working, was also cultivated from a young age growing up in Africa where I was inspired by how local craftsmen created both raw and ornate objects from local materials. I have travelled to many sacred places throughout the world, studying the form of buildings, objects, places of the soul, and materialities of the vernacular. These journeys have inspired continuous investigations into the alchemy of craft on many scales and I am continuously inspired and humbled by the work and skills of the human hand.
Inspiration also comes from the attention to the elemental, found in Japanese architecture. The collections that I design and make, seek to imbue a combination of the sacred, sculptural and the functional.
3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?
I am an artist at heart and the quest to create sacred forms that have the power to uplift, inspire and heal has been my life's work. I have honed these skills through immersing myself in the alchemy of craft on varying scales – beginning through sculpting with metal, creating both large-scale metal pieces and delicate jewellery.
I fell in love with wood, particularly old wood, where the time and traces of experience are embedded in the grain. I wanted to work with these inherent qualities; they lend style and unique characteristics to my collections. This led on to personal explorations into Japanese joinery techniques and I’ve spent many years working on wooden houses, creating my own style of joinery that I now bring into my furniture pieces and collections. These immersions led me to study architecture, through which my scale shifted to consider whole spaces, and enabled me to hone a poetic and refined approach.
This process has been a lifelong journey wherein my understanding of materials and space have been shaped through work and training in metal, wood and architecture. The pieces I create are in tune with the ecological in a holistic sense – locally sourced materials, handmade, and created to be loved through time and generations.
I seek to create pieces for contemplation and through the years, I have also studied the teachings of Sufi and Indian mediation teachers which continue to influence my thinking about inner stillness and form.
4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?
Becoming an architect is perhaps one of my proudest moments. I had followed an unconventional path and always focused on the poetic and material essence of space. To have these aspects align has enriched my design work and the scope of what I offer. I also feel happy to be making the most of the pieces I design, maintaining that connection between the hand and the eye that continues to inform new pieces and ideas. It is important to me to keep that artist spirit alive alongside the designing. This balance is an enriching experience and an ongoing achievement. I continue to be touched by the feedback that I receive about my work and have journeyed a long way since I sold my first table in 1993 – it makes me happy to know that my work is in private collections around the world with their own living sense.
5. What is your dream project?
To build a Tea House, in a special landscape, where everything from the form and structure of the building to the furniture and lighting inside, celebrates the elements. The connection to the ecological, domestic and the cosmic, a space that is both sacred and playful. A place to meet with all the senses, a place to journey to, through a winding path through the trees, so that when you reach the other side you’re allowed a moment to contemplate our place within the universe. That to me is the essence of architecture and underpins my quest to make collections and forms.