DMU design grad uses boatbuilding skills to create new kind of sea-ting

A graduate furniture designer from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has used his experience as a boat builder to create a remarkable new series of works.

Carl Austin, who studied 3D Furniture Design BA (Hons), began his career working on traditional wooden boats, before choosing to study at university in order to learn more about the industry.

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One of his most inventive designs was to build a boat into the design of a car, creating a vehicle reminiscent of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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But now he has used his nautical design experience to create some unique furniture pieces.

He said: “The university course really put me out of my comfort zone as I was made to work with other materials, rather than just wood, which I was used to.”

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He said: “Nowadays, I’m always looking for opportunities to try out new things. I'm able to do this because of DMU and the confidence it gave me to expand myself.”

He then started working on his own designs, eventually leading him to use his experience of boat-building to create unique furniture. Now based in Cornwall, Carl creates designs that ‘live outdoors as well as any boat and survive the great British Summer, while they are equally at home indoors’.

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He believes that although it can be difficult, it is important for young designers to be original.

He added: “One thing the course really taught me is to not make things fancy just for the sake of it. We were always encouraged to make things reliable rather than attractive.

“Young designers should always remember it is important to make sure their product works well.”


Carl believes that although ‘it seems obvious’ the most reward part of his job is selling a piece of his furniture. He said: “It’s a great feeling when someone is willing to part with quite a lot of their money for something you have designed and made yourself.”

To view or buy Carl’s furniture visit his website.

Posted on Tuesday 21st February 2017

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