A Forfar man who graduated last week from Scotland’s only furniture design school has won the prestigious Richard Demarco Design Prize.
Nick Smith (32) has transformed his Kawasaki Ninja 600cc motorbike into a “work of art,” according to Professor Richard Demarco CBE, Scotland’s leading arts commentator.
Nick is now creating Strathmore Restore from a new workshop in Forfar, and will be specialising in furniture restoration, kitchen design and creating bespoke furniture.
Nick’s project during his year at the Chippendale International School of Furniture was to painstakingly create intricate burr ash veneers with walnut accents to replace the bike’s original plastic fairings.
He also gilded the windscreen and wing mirrors and, to create the final “wow” factor, highlighted parts of the new veneered fairings with 23.5 carat gold.
The Chippendale school in East Lothian takes students from around the world for its immersive furniture design courses. This year, students came from the UK, USA, Germany, Austria, Poland, India, Singapore, South Korea and Australia.
“Nick’s achievement has been to take something mass-produced and, with artistic talent and infinite skill, recreate it as a unique work of art,” said Professor Demarco.
Nick, who is originally from Montrose, will be splitting his time between life as a woodworker and his other entrepreneurial venture, Strathmore Brewery – a new Forfar artisan brewery that has just started supplying a range of ales that it says “reflect the heritage and soul of Scotland.”
He is a graduate of Robert Gordon University where he studied robotics, and who then worked as a control and automation specialist on large-scale computer systems.
Nick said that “Winning the award is an unexpected dream come true. Combining my new found passion working with wood, with a long standing passion for motorcycles was lot of work but a lot of fun too.”
Anselm Fraser, principal of the Chippendale school, said that “the delicate skills involved in bespoke furniture design and making can be applied in different ways, and Nick has demonstrated real skill and talent in turning something manufactured into an utterly original thing of beauty.”