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Max Lamb

Interview

What is your ideal office?

 

Same as the one I currently have—a long desk facing the window at the front of the building to welcome visitors and generally be nosy, with my entire library directly behind me available at quick reach with just a swivel of the chair. But with a little bit more space for an extra brain and pair of hands and also a larger surface to spread books and drawings out onto. Otherwise a quarry in a remote, non-English speaking part of the world, a woodland on my grandpa’s farm or a secret beach in Cornwall.

 

Who do you look up to?

 

My parents, my sister, my grandpa, my wife.

 

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

 

That I enjoy working.

 

What idea has made a remarkable impression on you?

 

Diversification. This is an idea, a concept perhaps, I remember my grandpa telling me about fifteen years ago when I was living with him on his farm in Yorkshire helping him lay a concrete driveway, plant a beech hedgerow, sweep an under- utilized barn so he could rent it to a local doctor to keep his racing car in, renovate the old cattle shed into a more modest and appropriately sized cottage for him to live in so the five- bed farmhouse could be rented to tenants, cultivate a strip of south-facing land against another of the farm buildings to grow vegetables for his own consumption, harvest said vegetables, and last but not least harvest the crops he had spent the previous nine months growing and tending to—the primary purpose of the farm itself.

 

What is the beauty of using discarded material?

 

Every piece of discarded material has a story to tell. Decisions have already been made about the size and shape of the material based on its previous use that I wouldn’t otherwise have created, which inform its reincarnation and future use.

 

Where do you go when you don’t want to be found?

 

I stay in my workshop and don’t answer my phone or reply to emails.

 

What is your most treasured object?

 

I suppose any object that can’t be replaced, but not one object in particular. I used to be much more precious about my own work but I now understand that if something happens to a piece of work I can simply make another one, even if it won’t ever be exactly the same. The pleasure for me is always in the act of making the work and the satisfaction of completing it, never the outcome itself.

 

When’s the last time your heart was broken?

 

I don’t think my heart has ever been truly broken. I am very lucky, and/or cold/hard, and most definitely blessed to be surrounded by beautiful people.

 

What is your favorite thing to sit on at the moment?

 

I hate sitting.

 

What’s the magic word?

 

Patience. Something I struggle with.

 

Where do you wish to travel next?

 

Right now to Monckton Walk Farm in Yorkshire to see my grandpa because I haven’t seen him for over a year and he has just turned 91—and still farming!

 

What’s the most seductive thing about furniture?

 

What it is made from and how it was made. Only when a deep knowledge of the raw material from which something is made and an innate understanding of the ingenuity and skill required to transform the material is obtained can the true beauty of a manmade thing be appreciated.

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