Craftsmanship in Design: Our Top 5 Artisans
June 23, 2020|Luxury Insight
raftsmanship in design has a rich and long legacy, which has seen time-honoured skills and expertise passed down from generation to generation, but adapted to meet modern tastes and requirements. At the top end of the market, our clientele are seeking exclusivity and exceptional quality, and this is where we enlist the skill of artisans and craftsmen to create something extraordinary. In this blog, we celebrate the unique designs of some of our favourite craftsmen, highlighting the incredible level of skill that goes into creating each work of art and how we have incorporated these designs into our luxury residences. From hand-painted wallpapers to embroidered linens, we feel very proud to work alongside these specialists to deliver something truly outstanding.
Helen Amy Murray
Helen Amy Murray is recognised for her handcrafted creations that take inspiration from the geometry, pattern and repetition found in nature, reimagining these forms through textiles. Her work experiments extensively with texture, colour, depth and light, to create exquisite three dimensional works of art that vary from collectable framed pieces to interior installations and furniture upholstery. Each piece is meticulously hand crafted and sculpted using luxurious fabrics and finishes such as leather, suede and silk. Her beautiful designs have earned her a place both in the finest homes and art galleries, with original artworks displayed at The Royal Academy of Arts, The Victoria & Albert Museum and Somerset House. We worked with Helen Amy Murray to design a stunning floor to ceiling headboard, which forms a opulent focal point in one of our Walpole Mayfair bedrooms.
Another artisan that specialises in the media of textiles is Aiveen Daly, whose expertise includes fabric manipulation, couture-level bead work, embroidery and leather crafts. Aiveen works largely to commission, using luxurious embellishment techniques to adorn furniture and surfaces alike. Her work is designed with sustainability and longevity in mind; by producing made-to-order designs, you only purchase the fabric and materials you need to make that one piece. By creating something of heirloom-quality, it can be kept for future generations and even refreshed creatively to meet the changing needs of the owner. Aiveen’s work is incredibly methodical, slow and precise, delivering an exceptional end result. The dining room within the Brummell Penthouse at Beau House features a set of Aiveen’s chairs, which have been crafted from a single piece of fabric, but cut in different directions to maximise light play. In shades inspired by the plumage of a peacock and featuring a chevron design, these statement design pieces make a subtle nod to the tailoring heritage of Jermyn Street where the penthouse is situated.
Italian brand Frette are widely recognised as producing some of the finest linens in the world that have adorned the most prestigious hotels, the dining cars of the Orient Express and even the altar of St Peter’s Basilica. Perhaps most impressive of all is that more than 500 European Royal families since the 19th century have slept in their iconic sheets; testament to the exceptional quality that characterise their designs. From their base in Monza and Milan, Frette employs only the finest fibres and skilled artisans to craft their products, which have become synonymous with luxury and comfort the world over. In 1903, Frette patented the Albert Gagedois industrial method of natural fibre textile bleaching to achieve the pure white, soft, smooth and shiny finish that makes their linens so desirable. In our Belgravia Townhouse, we have dressed the bed in the Master Suite with Frette linen adorned with an embroidered chain motif. Matching towels in the adjoining Master Ensuite bathroom feature the same design, providing a touch of seamless luxury.
Another specialist artisan our Belgravia Townhouse champions is de Gournay, whose hand-painted Willow design on white dyed silk was thoughtfully chosen to provide a striking backdrop in the dining room. de Gournay are renowned for preserving techniques that date back to the 17th century, with a team of highly skilled artists that are specialists in traditional chinoiserie, Japanese, Korean and 19th century French Papiers Peints Panoramiques wallpapers. A team of six to ten people are entrusted to work on each order, with an average panel measuring around 90 cm wide and 2.5 metres high and taking around 150 hours to complete. With most designs consisting of around 20 panels, a bespoke order can take three to six months to complete. The wallpaper are usually made of painted Xuan ‘rice’ paper or paper-backed silk. The background is typically painted in gouache, with the details and elements of the design first outlined in pencil before being meticulously painted with watercolour. The end result is a beautiful and timeless work of art to be treasured.
Fromental is another wall covering specialist who we have used in our luxury residences to captivating effect. Distinctly British in style, Fromental designs reference historical classicism, panoramic compositions and 18th century chinoiserie, combining the art of painting, embroidery and collage together. By marrying traditional, artisanal techniques with natural materials, the end result has the added benefit of having a limited environmental impact. Each wall covering is hand painted on silk, paper or velvet before being part or fully embroidered in silk, with artists spending an incredible 600 hours stitching individual panels. Fromental has been used in a number of our luxury projects, from hand-painted feature doors on a bespoke media unit inspired by an 18th century Chinese tree of life mural in our Mayfair Residence, to a cherry blossom wallpaper in one of our Walpole Mayfair master suites. We love how these designs make an instant statement in a space, whilst also showcasing the skill involved in crafting these exceptional pieces of art.
Each of the artisans highlighted in this blog possess a unique range of skills that reflect their commitment to their craft and to producing unique and beautiful designs. The common thread that links each area of expertise is their dedication to preserving ancient techniques and creating sustainable pieces that will be cherished for years to come.