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Following a degree in Furniture and Product Design, local furniture designer Gigi Cooke is now manufacturing her unique design, Archie, in Jersey. We got Gigi (and Archie) into the studio for a show and tell. 

What has your journey been in design so far?

My design journey has been relatively brief but incredibly rewarding. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to delve into the world of design and craftsmanship. After completing my degree in Furniture and Product Design at Bath Spa University, I had the exciting opportunity to exhibit my creation, Archie, at different exhibitions in London during the summer. Since showcasing Archie in London I gained confidence and have now launched my company, selling Archie as my first piece of furniture on sale. In Jersey Archie will soon be available in TLC Homes new store at the new Horizon development.

What made you want to work with wood?

Wood stands out as an incredible resource abundant in the UK, boasting remarkable versatility. The UK hosts a diverse array of wood types. As a natural resource, timber exudes a soothing and calming quality, setting it apart. During my time at school, timber was readily accessible, sparking my fascination with the material. Since then, my journey has been learning more about the different characteristics timber has to offer by exploring different processes that can be used to manipulate timber into different forms and textures.

Whose furniture or designs inspire you?

The inspiration for my furniture primarily stems from the materials themselves and the exploration of various processes that can be applied to manipulate them. In the case of Archie, the design was particularly influenced by the joining process and the distinctive characteristics in Ash and Oak.

Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of sources, I find creative sparks in architecture, art, nature, and the works of other designers. Archie was also inspired by the Barbican in London, particularly its brutalist architectural style characterised by striking geometrical shapes. Additionally, the innovative approach of designer Jan Hendzel, who utilises different wood types and grain directions to showcase the inherent beauty of the material, has also played a significant role in influencing my designs.

Tell us about the concept behind Archie….

Archie encompasses all my beliefs and vision for what I stand for as a designer. Archie highlights the beauty of the timber the UK has to offer by showcasing the materiality of English oak and ash. Archie is a playful approach to versatile, contemporary furniture, mirroring its unique and arching silhouette, from which it draws its name.

In addition, Archie seamlessly transforms from a stylish stool, ideal for providing extra seating, into a functional coffee table that enhances the coziness of gatherings. It also effortlessly transitions into a chic side table, perfect for holding your favourite reads. This multifunctional design not only reflects my commitment to aesthetics and versatility but also represents the essence of my brand’s philosophy – combining form, functionality, and a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of sustainable materials.

You’re manufacturing locally in Jersey, is it challenging to do so here?

Manufacturing in Jersey has proven to be a seamless and straightforward process. Partnering with JH Carpentry for the production of Archie has been not only uncomplicated but also highly rewarding. After conducting some research, I reached out to James via email, and the proximity of their workshop, just 1km away, was a definite advantage. Initially, I commissioned one Archie for an exhibition and was impressed by the exceptional quality and craftsmanship demonstrated by JH Carpentry.

When the decision was made to offer Archie for sale, it was only natural to collaborate with James and his team for a Limited Edition run. The primary logistical challenge lies in shipping the materials, but I have managed this by leveraging the same timber suppliers I used during my university years.

What is your vision for your furniture business, what’s the dream job of commission?

My vision for my furniture business is centred around creating a responsibly manufactured and sourced furniture collection. The ultimate dream involves establishing my own studio and workshop, fostering a collaborative environment where various creatives come together, forming a hub of creation. I aspire to design, experiment, and see my products showcased in stores across the UK. My dream job is to engage in collaborative ventures with different designers and artists, pooling our talents to craft a collection that not only exhibits innovation but also tells a unique story.

When it comes to commissions, the process is always enjoyable. Working with clients who share a creative vision is gratifying. Designing a piece that is appreciated and one-of-a-kind adds a special layer of satisfaction to the creative journey.

And you’re donating to Trees For Life from every sale. Tell us about that?

My company and brand, Gigi Cooke, is dedicated to the design and production of long-lasting furniture with a commitment to sustainability, addressing environmental, social, and economic aspects. With Archie, 5% of the proceeds will be donated to Jersey Trees For Life, which is an amazing charity whose mission is to inspire, facilitate and promote the planting, conservation and protection of trees and hedgerows while educating our community about their environmental, ecological and social importance.

5% of the proceeds made by Archie will be donated to Jersey Trees for Life. Jersey Trees for Life is an amazing local charity whose mission is to inspire, facilitate and promote the planting, conservation and protection of trees and hedgegrow while educating our community about their environmental, ecological and social importance. My great grandfather was also the chairman of the charity in the 50s, which was a great connection made after contacting Trees For Life. 

About Gigi

Age: 25


Bath Spa University

Furniture and Product Design Degree 2018-2023 / Bryanston School (Dorset) 

St Michaels / St Georges

Favourite place to eat out in Jersey:

Sands, on St Ouens Beach, just love walking down for the breakfast with friends and family.

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