Article in Abode 2 the Luxury Property Magazine

Volume 2 Issue 15 // Abode2 163

The pursuit of

EXCELLENCE

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