Lord of the black arts


John Barnard, Hall of Fame nominee

He weaves magic from carbon fibre, whether revolutionising Ferrari in the ’80s or creating fabulous furniture today. Yet John Barnard refused to join the establishment – until it suited him
By Anthony Rowlinson

This is a tale of a beautiful idea, a beautiful mind and some beautiful Formula 1 cars. It’s also a tale of soaring ambition thwarted by the lowest politics; clarity obfuscated; passion quelled; inspiration, deceit, guile and cunning. It’s the story of John Barnard’s F1 adventure with Ferrari. Fitting, then, that more than a decade on from his last dance in scarlet, Barnard can be found in a beautiful place, filled with beautiful objects and people. Fitting, but also unlikely, for in the galleries of Established & Sons – a textbook-minimalist East End shrine to some of the world’s most expensive designer furniture – Barnard, dressed in low-profile jacket, slacks, shirt and loafers, looks, well, ordinary.

Nothing about this 64-year-old shouts ‘design guru’: no label enslavement, no F1-obligatory watch-of-ludicrous-expense. But if the attire gives few clues to what sets him apart, the table and chair at which he’s sitting say so much. Yep, that scalpel-sharp study in carbon composite that’s two metres long yet barely two millimetres thick at its edges – strong enough to bear the weight of an old Mini; cost £36,000 – is the work of J Barnard and his modern-day design partner Terence Woodgate.

Continue reading ‘Lord of the black arts’ from the June 2010 issue

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