Bespoke trending in LA

Hollywood Homeowners Moving Away From Mid-Century Modern Decor to Artisanal Furnishings
The Hollywood Reporter

L.A.'s industry insiders are finally shifting from the ubiquitous, spare aesthetic and toward contemporary, studio-made items with "wabi-sabi like imperfection" and uniqueness: "People just generally don't want to have anything that's off the shelf." Read the full story

Keeping it Real

Just received an article by James Matthews from the Abode2 Luxury Property Magazine 


Article in Abode 2 the Luxury Property Magazine

Volume 2 Issue 15 // Abode2 163

The pursuit of


2016 was a top note year for Sebastian Blakeley - a

spring board for business expansion – testing the

waters with fresh furniture design concepts in the

luxury made market, with time in between the

‘creative process’ to scrutinise the competition.

While new business ventures inevitably throw up their

share of challenges, for the award-winning designer – one

bête noire continuing to try his creative acumen is the

denigration of the term ‘luxury.’

“Credence (rightly or wrongly) is given to the notion

that ‘luxury’ is the perfect term to describe something that

is ‘beautifully created’,” he explains. “Few would disagree

with the value judgement that “beauty is in the eye of the

beholder.” But it begs the question - how in our present-day

world of ubiquitous ‘luxury’, can a discerning eye ever truly

define ‘beautifully created’?

Roll back the years to the early mid-century and

the definition would be appreciably easier to qualify.

Furniture design was conceived by architects and bespoke

manufacturers – the real entrepreneurs of the day. These

skilled craftsmen laboured away in factories using

hand-crafted skills passed down the generations. It was this

tactile, humanising process that defined the iconic status of

those early designs. Man and material working in harmony.

Together they sow the seeds of creating furniture ‘with soul.’

This last century has seen the inevitable march of progress and the furniture industry hasn’t escaped its clutches.

Computerised machinery may be extremely adept at

mimicking, hand-crafted and hand-finished products. But

what it can’t do is create that finely-honed authenticity. Hand

crafted, hand cut, hand planed, hand chiseled, nurtured

and caressed into existence – it’s only through immersion

in this creative journey that furniture can truly develop a

personality of its own.

Choosing the right finish is a further hallmark of

‘quality’. Patina and depth of age can never be achieved with

synthetic materials. Instead, nurturing sweeps of natural oil

can enhance the beauty of those specially chosen timbers,

help with the ageing process and encourage a uniform and

natural deepening of the wood’s colour tones.

In today’s world, discernment is a commendable trait

– it is one that should be held in higher esteem to combat

the dumbing down of tradition pushed all too often to

the sidelines in favour of convenience. Those that truly

recognise ‘hand-crafted’ are in an enviable position. For they

appreciate that, “the purposefulness and labour of structure

and design” embodies furniture with a dynamic energy all of its own.

Sebastian with the Mantide dining chair

Sebastian with the Mantide dining chair

Reflection on Luxury

Last week we were participating in the Luxury Made event in london. I had always understood "luxury" to describe wealth and splendour. The word, luxury, is rather exploited in this moment in time and the event organisers and the event certainly demonstrated a very broad interpretation of my understanding of the word " Luxury ". My curiosity piqued I looked up the latin roots. Rather horrified but at the same time rather consoled I discovered the emphasis on the Roman word " luxuria" to mean extravagance, excess, riotous living and sinful waste!! The Romans did however also use " luxus " to describe wealth and splendour. This broad interpretation of our modern day " luxury products " has left me with no doubt in my mind that actually what Sebastian Blakeley Designs is about is " exclusivity ". Luxury and luxury event organisers are probably well worth avoiding. Fortunately for us there were a few discerning guests who risked their lives amongst the sinful waste of imitation wealth and splendour to look for the real, beautifully crafted heirlooms of tomorrow. I sincerely believe I have found our way forward. We have had to use the " luxury " market place to launch our work. However I have no doubt in my mind that the nurtured quality, the underlying responsibility to longevity, the design concepts, our experience and the absolute honesty of our hand crafted materials is altogether something completely different. As of yet I can only find the word "exclusive" and  the term " limited edition" to describe our ethos. We will continue to search for the understanding of existence and will keep you all posted. Sebastian B.