Crafty num­bers

Although crafts­man­ship is more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with rus­tic sim­plic­ity, it’s the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent of ev­ery beau­ti­ful, com­fort­able and so­phis­ti­cated item of fur­ni­ture. Giles Kime talks to the peo­ple be­hind the de­signs on show this month at the De­sign C

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More re­cently, they have also broad­ened their range to in­clude fur­ni­ture that is the prod­uct of a sim­i­lar de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

‘The col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ship between de­signer and craftsper­son brings value both to the cre­ative process and the au­then­tic­ity of the piece. We are so re­liant on our mak­ers to trans­late our vi­sion into some­thing tan­gi­ble as well as tak­ing a con­cept and el­e­vat­ing it to a new level through their skills and know-how.’

Col­lab­o­ra­tion is also buried deep within the DNA of Savoir Beds, the com­pany that supplied The Savoy in the early 20th cen­tury and which has just opened the doors of its show­room in the De­sign Cen­tre. Ac­cord­ing to Alis­tair Hughes, Savoir’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, this process can be sym­bi­otic. ‘Our crafts­peo­ple have a more in­ti­mate un­der­stand­ing of both ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques than a de­signer,’ he says. ‘A great ex­am­ple is the bed that we cre­ated with the fash­ion de­signer Sacha Walkhoff, cre­ative direc­tor at Chris­tian Lacroix. He loved the pocket springs we use in our mat­tresses and wanted to bring them to the fore in his head­board. To make this pos­si­ble, we needed the in­put of highly ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers of our team Rod­ica Grig­o­riou and Ar­joon Pre­maje.’

As well as the pos­si­bil­i­ties for ex­cit­ing new forms, crafts­man­ship also cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties to work with a broader range of ma­te­ri­als. ‘At Savoir, we use ma­te­ri­als that are no longer in common use, not be­cause they’ve been bet­tered, but be­cause they re­quire great skill. An ex­am­ple is horse­tail—it’s the king of up­hol­stery fill­ings that acts

A mood­board and a de­tail from a light at the Porta Ro­mana Sur­rey work­shop

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