Our Story

We are a company with a deep-rooted belief in the value of craft and craftsmanship.

After graduating from Parnham College for furniture makers, Sean Sutcliffe had a dream of launching his own furniture workshop, and was inspired by his travels around Denmark to bring industry and employment to a rural community. It was at this time that he met Terence Conran and a firm friendship was made over a shared interest in making, wood, design and sustainability. They founded Benchmark together and our workshop and showroom are situated in the grounds of Terence’s country home.

Terence Conran Co-Founder of Benchmark

A responsible and sustainable approach is at the heart of everything we do.

sean sutcliffe
oak low shelving with three shelves

We began with just 3 people; today we are a team of 70, with workshops in Berkshire and Dorset. We work with many of the world’s leading architects and designers on high profile commercial and private residential projects, as well as having our own furniture collection.


Over the years, we have continually invested in our facilities and new technology. We have workshops for milling, cabinet making, veneering, finishing, metal working and upholstery as well as 5-axis CNC machining. This allows us to control the whole process from selection of the best raw materials through to final installation.


We have developed a highly skilled team with a shared love of making. Our craftsmen care deeply about the entire making process. We believe that this care and attention brings a warmth and soul to the final piece that could never be replicated by mass manufacture.

pale ash bench
walnut side chair with a pink colour seatpad

We have always been a design-led business. Whether designing for a commercial fit-out, a private residential project or for our furniture collection, each piece we create is thoughtfully designed for functionality and lasting beauty.

Design and Creativity Skills

Everything we make is designed and built to last, with the next 100 years in mind.

We are proud of our commissions for great institutions such as Westminster Abbey, Oxbridge colleges and many museums and public buildings around the world, which have a requirement for sensitive design, exquisite craftsmanship and longevity.


The longevity of our furniture in itself means that it is better for the environment but sustainability plays a part in every decision we take whether it be about resource management; the products we make and the way we make them; to the way we manage our workshops and surroundings and our employment practices.

We have taken big steps in our move to ensure that all of our furniture is made with human health and well-being in mind. Our solid timber furniture is free from  harmful chemicals and meets the standards for WELL certified buildings. We have developed natural upholstery that meets fire regulations without the need for toxic fire retardants.

We were one of the first furniture makers to have chain of custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council® and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. We are extremely proud to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category twice.

We offer a ‘Take Back Scheme’ where furniture can be returned to us when it is no longer needed. It will be refurbished, re-purposed or donated to charitable enterprises.



We are committed to developing the next generation of craftsmen and creating a legacy of making and makers.


Our award-winning apprenticeship scheme has been running for over 30 years and has been the cornerstone of our business. Many of our senior craftsmen and management team joined the company as apprentices, and we firmly expect many of those starting with us today to remain with us for the next 30 years.

Image credits

Petr Krejci, Nick Kane