Made to Measure

by theartofbespoke in Bespoke stories

Justin Van Breda is known for his elegant, bespoke furniture. Here he tells us how it gets made.

Making bespoke furniture is a mysterious art, with relatively few people either knowing or understanding the process. How does a piece go from idea to reality? How long does it take?

 

‘The more exposed you are and the more curious you are, the more creative you can be. The information is out there waiting to be taken.’

‘When we create a new collection, it takes about six months from deciding to do it to getting the first pieces to photograph and send out to press,’ says Justin Van Breda, who runs a Chelsea-based interior-design studio, as well as designing a signature furniture collection. ’We start with a conversation and then move onto sketching. In our design studio it’s very much a collaborative process – everybody has a say.’

‘We lay out the concepts and vote on them,’ he says. ‘From there we go to renderings, which we usually do by hand. After that, we go into the production of drawings. They then go into the workshop and we do a whole presentation, with a concept and a board and samples – we treat it very much like the interior-design process.’

Van Breda has just finished his latest collection in time for Decorex, the high-end design event, which takes place this weekend at Kensington Palace. ‘On the Decorex stand we have our new collection, which incorporates all our different wood and metal finishes that collectively tell the story of what the company does,’ he says. ‘This year we’re working with a lot of metal and lots of inlays.’

There are three collections: Sphere, which has a ball idea as the main design; then there’s Campaign, which is more military in style.

‘I have these vintage campaign bedside tables that everybody always comments on, so we’ve designed a collection around them,’ says Van Breda. The third collection is Legacy, which he describes as ‘a distilled version of our most popular pieces. You could call it our couture collection.’

Every piece can be made bespoke, with the customer able to choose their colour or finish, or which timber or metal they want.

‘For the first time we’re doing walnut as standard,’ he says. ‘We’ve always done mahogany – so it’s new for us.’

Overall, Van Breda describes it as ‘a long process, from design and development and technical to getting into production. It’s a huge investment in terms of time and creativity.’ Which means that getting his inspiration can feel like the easy bit. Certainly it isn’t something he struggles with. ‘The more exposed you are and the more curious you are, the more creative you can be,’ he says. ‘The information is out there waiting to be taken.’

Decorex, 22-25 September, Perks Field & the Orangerie, Kensington Palace, London, W8. For details, visit www.decorex.com

Justin Van Breda – www.j-v-b.com


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