More an architect than a decorator, Shaw was also one of the leaders of the Aesthetic Movement, but his contribution relates more to the definition of a new, clear and practical living environment than the invention of a particular style. He was, however, interested in furniture. The models he designed are recognisable by their powerful structure and the way he creates a decorative effect in assembling the wood.
In the 1870s, Shaw chose cut-out shapes, with a clearly defined structure, that were very oriental in style. This influence is particularly noticeable here in the design of the panels beneath the top, a design bound to evoke the architecture of North Africa. In this respect, Shaw's works clearly differ from the compositions of his contemporary, Edward William Godwin (1833-1886).