The Growing Demand for Bespoke Interiors

By Oliver Burns

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January 29, 2015|Luxury Design

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  • hen it comes to designing homes for the most discerning clients in the world, going above and beyond the norm comes as standard. Bespoke is a word used frequently in the world of luxury design but is often confused with made-to-measure and customised which are adaptations of off the shelf items. Bespoke design is fundamentally about creating a product that is precise to a client’s brief or specification. When designing and building the world’s finest homes, all the interiors we create are bespoke, whether it’s a development or a private client’s home. It is what our sophisticated clientele expect and it’s the only route to creating homes that are truly unique. The attraction of bespoke design for the ultra high net worth individual lies in its individuality. Luxury products are by definition a rarity and businesses invest huge resources in creating one-off pieces because clients increasingly desire experiences and products that are one of a kind. Although exclusivity can also achieved by tailoring products and through personalisation, it is bespoke design that will always be the true way to meet the need for uniqueness.
Image sourced via PrimeResi

Roll Royce’s ‘Bespoke’ programme is the perfect example of this and has been the key to delivering growth and success for their business since the department was established in 2013. Created to deal with one-off requests, the ‘Bespoke’ programme also develops its own concepts from time to time. These one-off cars demonstrate to clients what can be done to create a truly individual product. One of its creations, the well-known diamond studded Celestial was bought for a rumoured £1m by an Asian buyer, proving that unique products are highly sought after by ultra high net worth individuals. Aside from their ‘Bespoke’ programme, Rolls Royce offers countless customised options for their cars such as different colours and wood finishes, allowing every client to create a personalised product that is unique to them. Not quite bespoke, but close enough.

When it comes to designing interiors for the world’s finest homes, the elements that come together to create the design can be a combination of bespoke, made-to-measure and off the shelf. A beautiful antique bureau that is hand carved from the finest wood and has a wonderful history is technically considered off the shelf, although it may have a rarity and unique character that sets it apart from anything else. What we think is important at Oliver Burns is that each element within an interior is looked at individually and considered carefully; designed to suit the space and meet the client’s needs. This is part of our thoughtful luxury approach and we spend time understanding our client’s lifestyle and delivering thoughtful details that make it their unique home.

Image via Oliver Burns.Photography Simon Upton. Bespoke designed cabinetry.

As a result, much of what we commission is in fact bespoke. The reasons are two-fold; first and foremost, it allows us to have an item that perfectly fits the space and works within the interior. Secondly, it enables us to create a truly unique home. When delivering the best of the best, it has to be absolutely seamless and stunning. Bespoke design allows you to achieve this, providing you have the expertise to design it and the ‘little black book’ to help you deliver it.

Image via Oliver Burns. Photography Simon Upton

A good example is the cabinetry we design for our clients’ homes which is specified down to the finest detail. Everything from the materials and lacquer finish to the inlay detail and handles are handpicked and then crafted by a specialist joiner. We often incorporate the requirement to house artwork or collections and this is what can make it really special for the client. The true advantage of bespoke joinery is that it fits the space perfectly. There are no off the shelf or made-to-measure pieces that can truly compete with bespoke cabinetry; it’s a real luxury in the world of interiors.

All the kitchens and bathrooms we create are also bespoke, unless the client specifically wants a brand. For a bathroom we designed for a Mayfair townhouse, we travelled around different quarries in Italy to handpick cuts of Calacatta marble ‘in quarry’ to ensure the best quality and aesthetic appearance. We designed the sinks and vanity units and then had it crafted by local artisans to achieve an exceptional end result.

Images via Oliver Burns. Photography Alex James

In the reception room of my own house, I designed a chandelier as the centrepiece and then had it made. We went down the bespoke route because we wanted to create the wow factor but the ceiling height wasn’t especially high. The chandelier comprises 1800 hand hung crystal droplets and looks exactly what it is – made just for our reception room.

Image via Oliver Burns. Photography Tom Sullam

Although bespoke is very often the best choice for interiors, there are some wonderful luxury furnishings on the market that can be customised to suit the space. Sometimes, we tailor existing designs only very slightly. For instance we customised a Fromental hand-painted and hand-embroidered wallpaper depicting a cherry blossom design because the flowers were slightly too large. Each flower had to be painted in by hand to create the precise effect we were looking for.

When you get something bespoke, you aren’t just getting something unique, the piece also comes with a story. Bespoke items are usually designed and made by hand from handpicked materials that are stitched, carved, sculpted and finished by artisans. Although the time and work involved in creating bespoke pieces far exceeds customised and off-the-shelf items, the end result is without a doubt superior. This level of detail and the approach behind it is a key part of our thoughtful luxury philosophy and helps us to deliver exceptional results for our discerning clients.

As the desire for the rare and exceptional grows, the demand for bespoke will undoubtedly follow, making it an even more fundamental ingredient to delivering the world’s finest homes. For Oliver Burns, its simply part of the day job.


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