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Furniture Aug 27, 2020

TimHarris Design – An Innovative Creative Studio

Meet Tim and Lauren, the team behind an innovative modular shelving system. Together, they run TimHarris Design. A design focussed, client centric, creative studio offering bespoke solutions to individuals and brands in the disciplines of spatial, furniture and graphic design.



Tim grew up working with wood in his father’s professional grade workshop. Later, he studied design at the renowned Red & Yellow School, which led him to Cape Town’s ad industry. Here he spent over a decade as an awarded ‘creative’ before venturing out on his own.

Lauren, with her passion for travel, has for many years, found a home as a bespoke tour designer for Europe’s elite. Demanding exceptional customer service and logistical superpowers, this role has equipped her with uniquely specialised and challenging professional experience.

At their Woodstock studio, you can experience the simplicity, adaptability, attention to detail and quality of their modular shelving system for yourself.


What materials do you often use?

I like to use wood and steel as much as possible. I have a lot of experience with birch ply. I love it because of its strength and fine grain. I like the contrast of using wood and steel together. Steel is very  exciting for me. Because it can be accurately cut, bent and welded, we can do so much with it.


What are clients options in the design  of your pieces?

I love to create pieces that solve a problem or fulfil a specific need. Speaking with clients to really understand their needs and desires is very important to me. Only then can I truly be creative. Clients can specify anything and we will always do our best to find a way to achieve their request. With our modular shelving system, clients can request custom sizes, variations in wood, finishes and colours. I’m looking forward to a client asking for the shelving system with the steel components in red and the shelf surfaces in a dark hardwood.

What do you recommend as a custom furniture designer?

I would always urge the client to consider what they really want, and why they want it. I like to ask a lot of questions up front. The beauty of commissioning custom design is that the end product will be unique. The end product must resonate with the client on a deep level. In order to achieve this it is vital to define a clear brief.

Why are your products unique and very functional in design?

I think my background in the graphic design space makes my product/furniture design unique. I have always liked to design using clean simple shapes, neat lines and well balanced proportions. I also love to use bold flat panels of colour in all my interior projects. I am a self confessed minimalist, so naturally I approach design with a reductionist mentality. I avoid unnecessary elements in my design, everything that forms part of a complete design must be there for a reason.

What are the current/future looks in furniture?

For me, simpler and cleaner is always better. In my work I constantly strive to pair things down, and I think this is more than just a personal preference. In general, people are choosing to de-clutter their lives, we are becoming much more conscious consumers, we are acknowledging and responding to our need for peace and balance. It’s a good time to be a designer as there are so many ways (furniture being just one) in which good (functional, simple, lasting) design can improve our lives and add to our sense of well being. 

Name one challenging experience you were faced with?

In 2018 I wanted to impress an exciting new client, so I proposed a big idea that was a touch outside my area of expertise. I didn’t think that he’d go for it, but to my surprise, he pushed the idea further and approved it. Now I had to find a way to deliver. The project involved laying a series of moving cogs into a wooden bar counter as a decorative feature, that connected to a raised turntable upon which certain ‘special’ cocktails would be served to discerning customers.


I needed to design the configuration of the cogs, while factoring in all the ratios so that the speed of the turntable was appropriate. I needed to source specialized motors and controllers, ensure that everything was spill proof and customer proof. I had to work with bearings, commission minute custom engineered aluminium parts, install all electrics and ensure they remained dry and safe. In addition to all this, I needed to create two identical systems, they had to look interesting and beautiful, and be delivered before opening night, within budget along with the full twelve meter long back bar and a private side bar. Needless to say it was a challenging time fraught with unexpected complexities. Hard work does pay off though, and in the end we succeeded. There were certainly many lessons learned.


TimHarris wall mounted shelving systems are innovative and streamlined. Installation is simple. Once the horizontal rails are securely mounted on your wall, simply hang your components. They can be placed either way up, anywhere along the rails, with nothing but gravity securing them in place. This means you are free to reposition each component as often as you like.

Naturally, it is important to ensure that your wall is strong and smooth, not crumbly or overly textured. The system is compatible with drywalling as long as common sense is applied when loading the shelves.

All orders are delivered in flat pack format, together with simple assembly instructions and the required screws and plugs.

But if you prefer, they do offer assembly and installation services by skilled artisans. Please enquire about this with the team directly.

Call ahead to meet the team. Studio 210, Mason’s Press, 7 Ravenscraig Rd, Woodsctock, Cape Town (Secure visitors parking is usually available.)

For more visit TimHarris Design.

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