Free Range Designs is a collective of woodworkers and craftspeople spearheaded by myself, Paul Bullen, a South African born artist who found my way to furniture making by accident. With a background in graphic design, I have never had any formal woodworking training; I first started making rustic furniture with my older brother Nick, when we were living together in Wilderness, South Africa and continued working with him, and my younger brother Tim, when we came over to the UK in 2002. I think my lack of formal training has helped me to view furniture making as an art form, and not as a learned craft only open to the professionally-trained, and has encouraged me to experiment and take a novel approach to designing and making.
Our goal at Free Range Designs is to make beautiful, original furniture from eco-friendly materials, and to spread a positive environmental message at the same time. We take our inspiration from the natural world around us and believe in using only low impact, locally-sourced and sustainable materials. We strive to show the beauty of these materials through our furniture, allowing designs to be guided by the natural shape and form of the woods we use, and hope to encourage a respect for nature and engage people with environmentally friendly products. The name Free Range Designs symbolises our way of working, which is born of a desire to create without constraints and take a fresh approach to design and construction, with a prevailing can-do attitude.
Renewable energy powered furniture
Our primary workshop is at Pantperthog Farm, where I live with my wife and children. The farm is off the grid for power and water, and our electricity comes from a micro hydro-turbine, with some additional power from photovoltaic panels in summer. It's a beautiful and inspiring place to work, surrounded by trees and stunning views, and just a stone’s throw away from the beach. As the business grows we are also setting up satelite workshops, to provide additional space and give us the opportunity to work with more local craftspeople.