Dorset's great beauty is proving to be a welcome inspiration for another country

Countless artists, designers, photographers, and creative talents are constantly inspired by the beautiful patchwork quilt ofstunning coast and countryside in Dorset.

Contemporary furniture company Another Country is heavily inspired by its Dorset roots, so much so that they have created a series of eye catching collections developed and produced in Shaftesbury and the majority of furniture continues to be prototyped in the county.

Founded in 2010 by Paul de Zwart, who lives in Wiltshire, Another Country is a UK brand that believes in sustainable manufacture and timeless design. They pride themselves on their craftsmanship and attention to detail, producing their furniture in the UK and Europe using certified timber of the highest grade.

To honour the company’s five-year milestone in 2015, they commissioned a group of like-minded British and international designers to create a bespoke studio line that celebratesthe inspiring history and renowned landscape of Dorset. They even created a Dorset Series Collection and commissioned photographer Rich Stapleton, creative director of Cereal magazine, to create a set of prints.

The inaugural collection, SeriesOne, was produced inShaftesbury. The unspoiled countryside, charming villages and steep, chalky coastline of the region have been a continuoussource of inspiration, and the anniversary collection features five limited edition pieces from David Irwin, Catherine Aitken, Studio Dessuant Bone and Note.

Newcastle-based industrial designer David Irwin took inspiration for his Portland stone “Purbeck Buoys” from the brightly coloured floats used for the marking of lobster trap locations in the seassurrounding Dorset. His “Hardy” chair was inspired by Dorset-born novelist Thomas Hardy, creating an ode to the beauty of furniture that is handed down across generations. Two chair typologies from the 19th century influenced the design; the low-backed wooden Captain’s armchair and the Smokers bow, often found in smoking rooms, public houses, barbershops and cottages.

Dry stone walls are, along with hedgerows, one of the most commonly used land boundaries in Dorset, helping to createwhatwe nowregard asthe traditional pattern of fields and lanesso evocative of rural England.

Catherine Aitken’s solid oak and brass step stool is inspired by the temporary wooden framesthat aid the construction of these walls – as well asthe stilesthatremain afterwards.

The iconic Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast was the influence for Studio Dessuant Bone in creating the “Jurassic Light 117”. Portland stone, which carries impressions of fossils, has been used and the cylindrical negative space created by the natural limestone arch have been interpreted in the simple shape that forms the light.

The final piece was created by Note Studio – a vase inspired by the familiar matt colouring and weathered surfaces of the sea glass that continually washes up on the coast of Dorset. Sea glass typically takes 20 to 30 years, and sometimes as long as 50 years, to acquire its characteristic texture and shape.

Following the success of the Dorset Series, the brand recently launched the new “Hardy Series” (an extension of David Irwin’s Hardy chair) at this year’s designjunction, part of London Design Festival 2017.

Combining both time-honoured craft techniques and modern technology, the series has been inspired by Another Country’s Dorset heritage and references Thomas Hardy’s birth century. The collection includes an armchair, rocking chair, bar stool, side chair, side table and coffee table, adding to the existing Hardy Chair created by Irwin in 2015 and awarded the prestigious Design Guild Mark in 2016.

Founder Paul de Zwart says: “Key to Another Country’s ethos is to design products that have contemporary appeal but also longevity and David’s designs capture this ethos perfectly.”

Irwin tells us: “The design of the Hardy family picks up where it left off from the original Hardy chair, creating a collection of furniture that imbues quality and longevity so that it will be passed down through the generations. Each piece in the collection celebrates the knowledge and skill of the hands which made it, resulting in a collection of honest and humble furniture built to last, to be lived with and to be loved.”



“I’m a Dutch national but grew up in many different countries with my longest ‘stint’ being in Italy before moving to the UK. I moved to London in 1993 to study for an MSc at the London School of Economics. In 1996 I co-founded Wallpaper* along with Tyler Brûlé. It was the first of what turned out to be a succession of creative industry start-ups that I’ve worked on, before launching Another County.”


“Everything we do and design stems from our core values, which we consider to be our guiding principles. Whilst there are four design schools that ‘inspire’ us – Shaker,Japanese, Scandinavian, English vernacular – we are always guided by good design, sustainability, longevity, quality and fair pricing. Dorset is an inspiring area that is a breath of fresh air from the city, allowing artists to create.”


“It is a familiar part of the country to me and that’s where I met Dominic Parish from Wardour Workshops, who would ultimately become a partner in the business.”


“Focus on what you know best and stick at it.”

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP ABOUT COUNTRY IN THREE WORDS? “Contemporary, honest and functional.”