For many people, Sheffield's unique appeal lies in the city's proximity to the countryside – specifically the rugged purple moorlands and the gentle limestone dales of the Peak District national park. Adam Eckworth and Darren Hancock at architecture and design studio From Works are no different; their projects are case studies in searching out both inspiration and material in the city and its neighbouring countryside. And the results are things of singular beauty – whether it's kitchen units modelled on the colours and textures of a moss-covered rock, created using Peak District limestone, or a coffee table made from locally sourced steel folded over solid oak legs.
Adam and Darren established From Works in 2017 after working elsewhere in architecture, design and making. From their studio in Bloc they work on a broad range of projects incorporating architecture, interiors, renovations, exhibition design, joinery design, furniture design, and fabrication. The duo spoke to us about working with what's on their doorstep to create designs sensitive to their location.
How would you describe your work?
Our projects are rather varied but we are interested in making work that has a strong contextual connection to its location, a joyful use of materials, and a quality evident in a thoroughly tested design and skilled craftsmanship.
What inspires you?
Our name, From Works, references a strong connection to location, place and making within every project. As we are both from near Sheffield and the Peak District, we draw inspiration from the urban and rural context and seek to make work which reflects this. With a combined background in architecture and furniture design/making, we’re constantly looking at a varied breadth of sources for inspiration.
What’s your workspace like?
We have a studio in Bloc Studios in the centre of Sheffield – it's a very light, clean and simple space, which acts as a working backdrop for our projects. After recently refurbishing the studio we finally have enough room to sketch and draw up projects on a large central desk, plus we have a long workbench with shelving to make physical models, prototype samples, and test joinery and furniture details.
What are you currently working on?
We currently have a number of projects in the studio including a loft conversion and extension in London, an extension for a home out in the Peak District, a number of kitchen/joinery/furniture projects in both Sheffield and London, plus we are in the process of entering a couple of nationwide architectural competitions.
What do you love about Sheffield?
After both of us spending many years away from the area in different countries and cities, including a substantial time in London, it’s a real joy to feel part of a community both at Bloc and in the city. We both teach at Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University, which really helps to get to know a lot of friendly faces and understand a lot more about the city. It’s also amazing to have the Peak District on our doorstep and where possible we get out and explore the beautiful countryside for what it has to offer.
What would you do to improve the city?
Sheffield city centre in places is redeveloping at pace, not least where Bloc Studios is located in the "Cultural Industries Quarter". Here some of the city’s beautiful former industrial works and ultimately Sheffield’s rich heritage have been demolished without much care and thought to make way for generic brand new developments. There are great examples of reusing old buildings, such as Portland Works, which help to preserve the area’s history, character and culture. We think the city would benefit enormously from large scale developers working closely with local designers/architects and the community to ensure that the city isn’t flattened and replaced with insensitive and decontextualised buildings, losing what makes Sheffield unique and why we choose to live and work here.