I originally trained as a cabinetmaker at Parnham House/The John Makepeace school for craftsmen in wood. After an apprenticeship in David Fields' workshop in London, I went on to the Royal College of Art to study furniture design and earn my professional qualifications, and I've since spent many years working as a cabinet-maker and furniture designer, with a wide range of corporate and private clients.
Over the years I've founded and managed On-The-Line Design, a multidisciplinary design consultancy in Chelsea Harbour, and then Guy Mallinson Furniture. This developed to become Mallinson Ltd, specializing in custom design and cabinetmaking for private and corporate clients. The workshop grew to sixteen cabinetmakers in a well-equipped workshop in Fulham, taking on large-scale contemporary commissions.
From 2000 to mid-2004, Mallinson Ltd was heavily involved in the development of new wood bending technologies - work which included the manufacture and processing of Bendywood® and Thermaflex® as well as design consultancy and prototyping services for projects using these products.
The LABAN project was the first major public installation using Bendywood® the architects were Herzog & De Meuron, with manufacture, design and development by Mallinson Ltd. In 2003 Herzog & De Meuron won the Stirling Prize for their work on LABAN, and in the same year, Mallinson Ltd won the FX International Interior Design Award for Best Public Space Installation for the project.
During that time I also took the decision to re-locate to West Dorset and a new working environment surrounded by woodland. What's more, throughout the years, I've always enjoyed teaching. Back in Fulham days I ran evening classes teaching cabinetmaking, which proved popular with both men and women from all walks of life. With the move to Dorset came the opportunity to teach again, but this time in a wonderful setting and focussing on techniques that matched my surroundings.
My work on wood bending methods rekindled my interest in traditional green woodworking craftsmanship, in many ways the natural equivalent of the hi-tech methods I'd been helping to pioneer. (My first experience of green woodworking was back when I was studying at Parnham House, when I carved my first green wood bowl under the tuition of master bowl carver Paul Caton.) What's more, working in woodland reminded me of just how wonderfully sustainable a resource wood can be.
Throughout my years of cabinetmaking in London I'd been working with timber that had been felled, transported to a sawmill, sawn into planks, moved to timber stacks for years of drying, transported to timber stock holders, transported again to our workshops and then cut up into components, with the wastage (up to 50%) just discarded or burned. Nowadays, timber no longer arrives on a big lorry coming up the King's Road! Instead, I can see the process through from the thinning and sustainable management of woodland to making a wooden product, with no transportation or wastage.
And that's where I am now. I do still accept occasional commissions in between running course but my emphasis is very much on teaching green woodworking here in the woods in West Dorset. This, in turn, has led to television work, including the BBC 'Mastercrafts' series with Monty Don, the 'Giles and Sue Live The Good Life' series, 'Escape to the Country', and other programmes currently in development.
Adam is our head tutor and works closely alongside Guy in presenting and developing our courses. He grew up in the nearby village of Tatworth, where he spent his childhood exploring the local countryside. Having spent time travelling and training as an engineer, Adam's love of nature led him to study arboriculture at Merrist Wood College in Guildford, Surrey. Once qualified, he spent five years working as an arborist in Hertfordshire, enjoying work on conservation projects such as rare native grey poplars on Aylesbury Plain.
During this time Adam started doing more of creative work, including chainsaw carving. In 2005 he returned to his roots in the West Country where, as well as continuing his work as a professional arboriculturalist, he was keen to pursue traditional crafts and began working with Guy helping to put in place much of the Woodland Workshop infrastructure. Adam joined the team full-time in 2010 and his knowledge of trees and arboriculture has proven an invaluable complimentary source of in-depth knowledge for our guests.