some of our furniture is now on show at this new Gallery Broadway Luxury in Broadway Worcestershire WR12 7DP
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.
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.