On first glance, John’s nest boxes appear to be a piece of contemporary art. His restrained use of colour, angular shapes and careful consideration of form have a minimalist feel, stripped back to the essentials. An original nest box sits on the gables of John’s own home in York, providing a comfortable place for blue tits to nestle in each spring. The boxes create a beautiful and subtle contrast to the natural surroundings they sit in, and the geometric habitats attract anything from wrens and goldcrests to little house sparrows.
John creates small batches of each design, and works with local craftspeople when he needs to ensure quality. A cradle-to-cradle philosophy follows each piece John makes, from the materials he uses down to the low impact packaging. “Slowly, over time, the boxes will age well, and I hope that they will also increase in personal value, too,” John says. “If taken care of, they will last for many seasons to come.”
It makes perfect sense that the designer John most appreciates is Dieter Rams. ‘Less but better’, Rams once famously said, referring to the timeless quality, honesty and usefulness that good design requires. “His design principles are more relevant today than ever,” John says. Afternoon trips to the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth Wakefield also feed John’s taste for design. The simplicity of shape and form he sees there continues to inspire his own designs, whilst positively encouraging wildlife into the garden.