table with oak top and base painted green

Bespoke Furniture – The New Standard?

Mass production furniture is an essential part of most furnishing schemes, but many buyers are looking for something more meaningful and simpler in origin than a standard item from a factory production line. Clients want something that evokes a response and has a unique origin.

The awareness of climate and the environment is creating a new generation of buyers who want to know the source of materials and the impact of manufacture with an understanding that individual design and good working practises have a greater financial cost but lower environmental and social one. At NEJ Stevenson, as designers and makers we take our clients on that journey from the sourcing of timber, to the finished item of bespoke furniture.

To commission a bespoke piece and to play a part in the design of something exclusive with discreet, individual touches is a rare and special experience. For the person commissioning it, it provides a behind-the-scenes insight into the provenance of a piece of furniture – offering a unique opportunity to liaise with the craftspeople who have spent days working on your new piece, to understand for yourself how the wood was chosen, where the materials were sourced and to understand the level of care and skill that goes into such a project.

The Revolver table is a bespoke piece that is not only unique but exquisite and unexpected.  This piece challenged us to create something new that takes us beyond merely a satisfactory table solution to a work of art. To design with complete freedom is a luxury and a rare privilege but it is not without its concerns. You have the opportunity to create something special, something to challenge the norm. But will you have the stroke of genius, that moment of inspiration that provides the spark to create a design classic?

The challenge of having a table that was both practical and a piece of art was one that gave us much to ponder, what is art, can a functional table be art? In the end we determined that anything practical and functional was not a piece of art and therefore to satisfy the brief the table must transform into something that was not functional but was still beautiful. The challenge therefore was would it be possible to devise an efficient mechanism that would be both quick and simple, alternating between the two forms?

The design of this mechanism would be pivotal in every way and we entered a collaborative period where mechanisms were discussed, ideas sketched, plans drawn, and prototypes were built. Some ideas were impractical; others showed promise, before eventually the craftsmen and designers created a system that worked. It was this system that gives the table its name – ‘Revolver’. The beautifully simple solution reflects the simple elegance of the overall design with a circular wave running around the table and the individual keys following the wave with bearing races.

So, what is the beauty of bespoke? The real beauty of a finished bespoke piece is reflected in the collaboration between client and designer, by the hours spent designing and painstakingly crafting the piece from a specially chosen piece of timber – selected specifically for that commission – and the pleasure in creating something that is truly unique which will be enjoyed for years to come.