Being the son of a noted Industrial Designer, I sought out classes in Furniture Design and Silversmithing, while attending the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University). It wasn’t until I was a Graduate student at the Royal College of Art in London, that I took true ownership of the design process.
Design is at the heart of our business. From inspiring new ideas, down to working out the smallest details, you can see the process which we go through when designing a new range of cutlery.
At Studio William we start designing by trying to interpret and transfer our ideas in to a visual representation, using computers with CAD software (Computer Aided Design). Sometimes we take the traditional pencil and paper route as well. After many conceptual line drawings, a few possible solutions arrive, but how do we know it will work, and what would the final metal design look and feel like?
From our outlined CAD designs, we create highly detailed engineering drawings, which we give to our model maker. He uses these to accurately interpret the designs into precise reality.
We choose to make hand carved wooden models, or high density foam, because it has a similar density and carving property to wood. After carving, it is easy to apply silver paint to the model. This gives us the first real understanding of how the fork will feel in the hand, and look on the table. The silver paint allows us to see the basic reflections.
Often small adjustments are made to the models, to ensure we get the pieces as precise as possible. We do this by sending the models back to the model maker, with new adjusted engineering drawings, for physical adjustments to be made.
Once the models, and design proportions, have been approved by us, we choose to make metal forms, to confirm the feeling of weight in the hand. It is important to evaluate the balance, which is often over-looked by many companies. The engineering drawings, and the wooden models of the Knife, Fork and Spoon, are given to our Silversmith, who will make the silver pieces by hand.
Now that we have been able to approve all elements of design, from functionality to aesthetics, we are in a position to start tooling. The models and engineering drawings are sent through to the factory. There, the CNC machines cut and prepare the tooling profiles, and Master Tools, which will be used to press and form the Stainless Steel blanks. These are then transformed into the beautifully finished cutlery pieces, that make up a place setting.
Once the cutlery tools have been made, we go through a rigorous Quality Control procedure, with many checks, and guidelines, set in place. This guarantees our customers receive a perfect product every time. We have a more detailed step-by step process, describing how a Knife, Fork or Spoon, get turned from a solid piece of Stainless Steel, into a perfectly formed dining implement.