The Hackney Makers behind Hampson Woods
Creaters of Must-have Accessories for the Thoughtful Cook
“Provenance is key,” Hampson Woods’ Jonty Hampson and Sascha Gravenstein agree. “A good piece of wood is one where you know where it’s come from.”
This thoughtful ethos forms the basis of Hampson Woods’ wooden homewares and bespoke interiors company, based in east London's creative hub, Hackney. Reknowned for their beautifully polished, distinctive chopping boards and platters, Hampson Woods also make and sell spoons and hanging racks, each one made from wood ethically sourced in and around London.
The first tree they used had been felled in London’s Russell Square. Hampson explains: “They are trees that have come down for a reason,” while Gravenstein adds: “We try to waste as little as we can. You could make thousands of things from one tree. They are so heavy and massive, trees have an enormous volume of wood. They just keep on giving.”
Long-term friends, Hampson is a cabinet-maker and carpenter, while Gravenstein is a fine artist and product designer. Hampson created interiors for the likes of east London’s artisan bakery The E5 Bakehouse, making cake display stands, a bread-making table and chopping boards.
“People wanted to buy them,” he says, “So we thought: let’s make them!”. The two set up business together, collaborating on sourcing woods and designing, making and selling their wares.
The chopping boards come in different sizes, with a unique, organic feel featuring the grain and detail of the wood. Every piece is made patiently at their Hackney studio and finished by hand. “It’s a very considered process,” Hampson says. “It’s time-consuming for a reason.”
The duo have been based in a workshop in Hackney's Clarence Mews for four years. Formerly a family-run car yard, it is now home to their workshop – a light-filled cavern hung with tools and dozens of unfinished boards and prototypes. This summer they turned their old workroom across the courtyard into a showroom for customers and as a place for a cup of tea and to sketch out designs.
Hampson Woods sell their pieces at Broadway Market in east London and a range of homewares shops, as well as Fortnum’s.
“It’s been word of mouth,” Gravenstein says. “We’ve not really pitched into any stores. Fortnum’s was on the wishlist – from a retail point of view it’s the finest in London; the sort of place you visit as little children to look at the sweets!”
Their future plans include more designs as well as a Maker’s Market to showcase local artisans. The first one will take place on Sunday 10 August down the cobbled lane where their studio is located, and will feature a local leather-worker, fine artist, jeweller, furniture-maker, fashion designer and musicians.
Visitors to Fortnum’s Gallery Restaurant should also keep an eye out for an exclusively commissioned piece from Jonty and Sascha: a substantial carvery board. It will be made from carefully sourced Scottish elm. “Once you know where a piece of wood is from, it's immediately of more interest,” says Gravenstein. “There's an immediate connection.”