David Tragen

It all started one rainy day in 1995, after two months of being in Barcelona. A friend and I were seeking shelter from what felt like a monsoon and dived into Zeta Futon in the Gothic Quarter for cover. The shop was filled with an exquisite collection of contemporary furniture and lighting, crafted by local artisans in an array of materials, textures and forms.  It was a ‘light bulb moment’; feeling like a child in a sweet shop, I wanted to be able to recreate that same excitement, designing and making my own pieces.

I left University with a degree in International Business in 1994, but had already developed a sense that my calling was elsewhere. I changed tack immediately, qualified as a TEFL teacher and following an initial year teaching in Sicily, moved to Barcelona, hoping to be inspired by its air of creativity

Following my eureka moment, I started upcycling disused pieces of furniture in my tiny 2 × 2 metre home workshop and used this as a launchpad to teach myself furniture making. As my interest and passion grew, I completed courses in marquetry, wood carving, life drawing and technical drawing. After four years, making furniture and wooden lamps had become more than a hobby and I decided to leave teaching English to pursue being a designer maker full time.

Over the next two years I completed various projects for bars and restaurants as well as private clients in both Barcelona and Ibiza. However, I felt that in order to be able to translate my creative vision of working with flowing curves in wood, I would need to train further.

I returned to Britain in 2002 and with excellence being my objective, I trained with David Savage for a year and then was selected by Silver Lining Furniture to work as a cabinet-maker. After gaining a further year’s experience, I decided to set up my own business in Manchester so that I could make my own designs. Since 2018 my work has diversified, with a greater focus on sculptural objects and now incorporates the techniques of hot and cold casting with bronze to realise these forms.

What really excites me about my work is turning the intangible into physical objects, whether furniture, wall art, sculpture or decorative lighting. I love the whole process; from dreaming up the initial ideas to engrossing myself in the meditative making process and of course delivering the finished piece to a satisfied client.

Published Work

  • Cheshire Life October May 2023

  • Furniture and cabinetmaking August 2013

My work has appeared in the following publications:

Cheshire LifeOct. ’23
The Cheshire MagazineMay ‘14, Oct. ’17, Nov. ’18, Aug ‘21
Yorkshire PostAug, ’21
BOB MagazineSept. ’19
Dentro Casa MagazineMay ‘19
Living Edge MagazineMay ‘15, Aug ‘19
Furniture and Cabinet makingAug. ’13
Manchester Evening NewsOct. ’09, May ’13
Lancashire LifeMay ’13
“500 Cabinets”Published 2010
Woodworker’s Technique BiblePublished July 2009
Idfx MagazineAug. ’08
Concept For LivingSept. ’07, Oct. ’07, Sept. ’08
“Bespoke – Source book of furniture designer makers”Published August 2007
“Furniture Today”Published 2006