Roy Tam is an award winning product designer, design lecturer, and ran a successful sustainable furniture business. His simple style is unlike most eco furniture, and displays scandinavian influences over his oriental origin, and are models of efficiency and people-friendly function.
Roy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Crafts Council's National Register of Makers. His work combines a range of batch produced furniture with customer led innovative bespoke commissions. He is a lecturer in 3D Design at Plymouth University, a touring lecturer in sustainable design, an external examiner, an exhibition curator and a competition judge.
Nothing comes close to timber
Timber is ecologically head and shoulders above ALL the world's structural materials. For example, raw aluminium requires several hundred times the energy to produce compared with timber. While plastics are better, they still consumes hundreds of times, and recycled plastics uses more energy again. Which all translates to more CO2 emmissions. Composite boards can only help to reduce landfill. Not only is timber greenest, it also has a double advantage. Trees also absorb atmospheric CO2 as they grow and 'fixes' it into its wood. This carbon acts as the world's carbon sink, and is not release back into the atmosphere unless it is burnt or decomposed.
Young trees fix more carbon
Fast grown ash is by far the most resilient. That is why ash was used in the wings of the Spitfire. Fast growth means stronger, so the best is often found in young thinnings too small for commercial sawing. Because of this, thinnings are undervalued and foresters won't normally get an income until 70-90 years after planting. "If more designs can be made from thinnings, we can earn a mid term income, and use it to manage our woodlands better." In comparison with an old tree, a fast grown thinning can absorb 30 times more CO2 in the same year, making it much more effective than a similar area of rainforest. Ash trees also seeds themselves, making ash the ideal 'renewable' tree. Roy's timber is sourced locally, mainly from the managed mixed woodlands around Melbury Estate managed by forestry expert Andy Poore.
Low Impact Design (Low Carbon Footprint): Why is Steam Bending uniquely saves energy?
Unseasoned ash is the perfect material for steam bending. While industry kiln dries whole planks of timber and converts typically 60% to furniture, steambending heats just the component and uses a fraction of the energy, reducing the drying time from 3 weeks to 12 hours with a heat pump. After one hour's steaming, timber is curved and seasoned at the same time ... so long as we do the bending in 20 seconds!
"Trees represent a strategic resource of incalculable value to the atmosphere and to man's well being. To sustain them the cost of planting and management must be paid for from income. Timber must therefore be used to the best advantage, not just as a fuel or pulp, but as a material for high quality manufacturing of products and the construction of buildings, for which the demand increases year by year. Scientists and industry have increasingly researched and exploited 'new materials', made from finite minerals, but timber remains the worlds major renewable resource and the most energy-efficient structural material."
Who buys from Roy?
Most of Roy's work is found in homes of private individuals, as well as corporate customers such as the Natural History Museum and Somerset County Council. Recent commissions include the main reception desk for the Ecology Building Society and East Somerset NHS.
Roy lives in Sherborne, Dorset. He trained in wood at John Makepeace's Hooke Park College at the Parnham Trust. Having helped evolve Trannon with David Colwell, who pioneered eco furniture back in the early 1980's, his current business blends sleek contemporary style with ecological sensitivity. Previous to that, he trained in Industrial Design Engineering at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, and also a degree in medical electronics. While working for Cambridge Consultants, he was instrumental in setting up the product design department at their parent consultancy Arthur D Little Inc. He was elected to be a member of the Design Council selection panel and received the Braun International Prize for Industrial Design. Roy's aim is to work alongside you to deliver the optimum design solution.