In our regular Spacemaker slot we speak to individuals or groups who work with space for a living or have a passion for space.  The space they talk about could be physical space, mental space, small space or a special space…This time we talk to Jakob Reilly who runs a furniture company in Surrey and is a partner at Hereford Furniture, which recently appeared in BBC2 documentary Digby Jones: The New Troubleshooter

 Tell us about yourself

My Name is Jakob Reilly, I run a small office in Epsom, Surrey that runs UK operations for a select band of European furniture manufacturers.  I’m also a partner at Hereford Furniture, which is a UK furniture manufacturer, and I have recently joined forces with a UK furniture designer of note, Mr Ben Fowler [who also happens to work with Futon Company!], to form Marque Furniture, which offers a design/manufacture/project management service to the furniture industry.

What type of space do you work with?

Primarily, we work with the space within the home, but we have also been involved in contract projects.  My big new project, with Ben, is Marque Furniture; our simple aim is to link design and manufacturing more closely.  Design is becoming an increasingly important aspect of life, and good design adds flavour to life.

Describe your ‘average’ day working with space

There really is no such thing as an average day for me, and that is what makes life fun.

Why is the space you work with important to you?

I suppose I am probably more product-focussed but that feeds into the use of space and the filling of space.  Furniture is, after all, pretty bulky stuff… People’s space in generally limited, so it should be filled with nice things.  Hopefully some of that is our furniture!

How do you think the space you work with impacts on other people?

Our ethos is to try to produce quality products that last.  I look at end user reviews quite often and it brings a smile to my face to know I have been involved in a product that is giving people joy in their surroundings.

What attracted you to this type of work?

I grew up in the industry; when I started, my parents both worked in the business, so I guess it was a natural thing.

What are your thoughts on small spaces?  Do they impact on the kind of work you do?

Small space is becoming increasingly relevant.  We live in a country with an increasing pressure on housing and a rapidly growing population.  New build British houses are already the smallest in the EU, and the furniture that goes into those homes needs to take account of this!

What are your thoughts on sofabeds? 

Every home should have a sofabed.  There used to be a time when sofabeds were bad sofas and terrible beds.  Not anymore.  Nowadays, they are far better.  Ours at home lives in the kids den, a converted loft space.  It’s used for wii playing by the kids and doubles as a very comfy guest bed…


Manx Table/Stool by Ben Fowler