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Toby Howes

ABOUT TOBY A love and admiration for the natural world has gone a long way in to shaping Toby Howes as the designer we see today. In 1990 he graduated from Kings College, London ,with a degree in Ecology before going on to spend more than a decade working with various organisations which all served a common purpose, to reduce the impact man has on the environment. It only naturally follows that all of Toby’s materials are sourced ethically from sustainable FSC approved local timber yards. However Toby’s time as an ecologist has influenced more than the matter of where he chooses to buy his timber from, ultimately informing his entire make-up and ethos as designer. What fascinated Toby was the frailty of ecosystems, how the slightest alterations can have the most immense consequences beyond the immediately perceivable or instantly apparent, a notion which runs richly through his work. Because behind the simple presentation of Toby’s work and beyond the smooth and graceful lines. There often lies a web of intricate fabrication, an imaginative, purposeful function. His highly praised drinks cabinet is a superb example of how this idea is realised in his work. Beautiful but relatively un-complex in its appearance, what’s revealed by this piece is truly astounding. The cabinet is opened by turning the top to reveal an illuminated space for bottle and glass storage, by no means a simple feat. Elegant and understated on the surface of things the brilliance in this designers work is to be found in what we have to look a little further for, and the pleasure in doing so is all ours.

Dimensions: Length 34cm x Height 19cm x Depth 24cm

Coco Memory Box: Shown here in American black Walnut and burr brown oak veneer, this elegant looking box has been designed to stand the test of time. A stunning combination of simplicity and sophistication.

ESCHER COFFEE TABLE As the name suggests, this design was inspired by one of Escher’s bird & fish tessellation sketches & proved every bit as difficult as it looks to perfect all the angles. Each of the three walnut inlaid arcs slide out to become side tables in their own right, leaving the central zebrano piece to become more & more sculptural as each arc is removed. The zebrano wraps around the inside of the funnels of each ‘arm’ of the central piece to form a funnel, rather like that of an old-fashioned gramapohone, that draws the eye in through the centre. This is especially effective if light is streaming through one of the funnels. Modifications: the red can be replaced with any colour you choose or even exchanged for any wood type you would prefer if the piece is too bold for your taste as it stands. A glass top can also be added so that you have the use of the whole surface area, even with the arcs having been removed to use as side tables. Another option is to have the arcs reinforced so that they can be used as stools as well as sidetables, it really is an extremely versatile table!

Dimensions: 45cm High x 80cm Wide x 80cm Deep

WISHBONE ROCKING CHAIR When beginning a new piece or project Toby will often find himself experimenting with materials other than wood; helping him gain new perspective in terms of texture and shape. As it happens, the piece you see here started life as a pair of pipe cleaners! This chair is all about the lines, and from the side you can see that every curve mirrors the others to give an unusual silhouette for a rocking chair. This chair is available in maple with added walnut in the supporting curves (top image) or vice versa (bottom image). The contrasting colours these two wood types provide really go a long way in accentuating the form of this spectacular looking chair. The shorter than usual design of this piece also means it doesn’t take up as much floor space as a typical rocking chair would.

Dimensions: 90cm High x 55cm Wide x 110cm Long


This drinks cabinet is a pure design piece, conceived & constructed for the sheer joy of proving that such a complex concept could be executed with simplicity & elegance. The wood has been fumed to enhance the depth of the grain, giving the oak an unusually dark colour, & the main body of the cabinet is of coopered construction & facetted in appearance. The iris is activated by rotating the black lacquered surround on top, and once fully open, the cabinet is internally illuminated by LED lighting to reveal glasses suspended in a transparent circular shelf rack & and space sufficient for at least 12 bottles. Furthermore, this piece perfectly demonstrates Toby’s tendency to combine the aesthetically simple with the functionally complex; a true testament to the skill of this craftsman.

Dimensions: Height 90cm x Diameter 70cm


This side table was originally inspired by a client commission; Toby decided to take their favourite flower, the bird of paradise, as his starting point and inspiration. After deconstructing a real example to understand the shapes & flow, the sculptural shape of the flower stand began to evolve. Hopefully, the end result combines its boldness & elegance with beauty & functionality. It has already proven to be one of Toby’s most popular pieces, selling them as fast as he can make them. They are avaialble in a wide variety of woods & veneers. The tables you see here are in cherry wood (above) and beech wood (below), but the same design is also available in a darker walnut option. Some like to use it as a flower stand for plants or vases of fresh flowers, others to display a piece of sculpture or object d’art.

Dimensions: Height 90cm x Diameter 35cm

PRIMA This piece holds incredible personal significance for Toby as it was the first commission he decided to go all out on with his now signature ‘more than meets the eye’ concept. It ‘floats’ above the ground on a hidden plinth and has touch catch doors and drawers to ensure the bookmatched veneer is uninterrupted. It can be adapted in dimensions to a variety of spaces and is extremely versatile in terms of usage. Previous clients have requested it for traditional cutlery and crockery storage; for use as a media centre, to house DVD Players, Digital Boxes, Stereo Systems and Gaming Stations; and even for CD and DVD storage, for which he has designed an intricate dividing system.

Dimensions: Length 150cm x Height 70cm x Depth 55cm


This piece was inspired by a client Toby met at The Celebration Of Craftsmanship & Design Exhibition ( at Cheltenham ) who had a passion for 1950’s furniture. He wanted a desk with a distinct ‘Toby Howes’ look that combined a light, suspended-in-air feel with the utilitarianism of the time. What Toby came up with beautifully contrasts light and dark, straight lines and curves, intricate construction with simple style and luxurious materials with sparse design; a piece that would make a stunning addition to any contemporary office space.

Dimensions: Length 200cm x Height 80cm x Depth 60cm

SOPHIA This commissioned piece combines the striking book-matched veneer doors & invisible hinges of the Prima Sideboard with beautiful walnut shelves. As with the Prima, it floats on an invisible plinth and the veneer of the doors flows seamlessly from one to the next with no hinges or handles to interrupt the eye. The Sophia can either stand alone or be bolted to a wall for extra stability; height, width, doors, drawers & shelves can all be added, removed or altered to suit &, as with all of Toby’s furniture, clients can choose woods & veneers that reflect their personal taste.

Dimensions: Length 200cm x Height 240cm x Depth 60cm

PROCLUS Whilst wandering around the back streets of Cape Town a few years back Toby came across a tiny little place that had a curious stool in the window. “Unlike every other bit of furniture I’d seen out there this one was a mass of angular shapes that drew the eye to explore.” The geometry of the piece stayed with Toby, and that rough hewn, squat little stool grew into the long legged “striking and complex” [ Colin Eadon-Eadon, Furniture & Cabinet Maker Magazine ] Proclus bedside table, complete with concealed drawer.

Dimensions: Height 60cm x Width 35cm x Depth 35cm

Thank you for taking the time to browse through our brochure. For anymore more information regarding Toby’s work or the services we offer in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us at:

You can follow the links below to find both our website and Toby’s personal profile page.

Toby Howes Brochure  

Now selling through Sable & Ox, Toby Howes is a designer whose furniture lives up to his strap line of 'More than meets the eye'. His innova...

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