In today’s prime residential market, owning a bespoke piece of furniture is increasingly in demand from discerning buyers and collectors. Clients want to know where a piece has come from, who made it and the materials used, and significantly they expect to pay a premium to get the exclusivity that comes with a bespoke commission. Clients want something that evokes a response and has its own unique story.
Greater environmental awareness also encourages the desire to know the roots of design; the source and ecological sustainability of a piece of furniture, and to consider the true value of things beyond their price. At NEJ Stevenson, as designers and makers we take our clients on that journey from the raw materials to the finished item of furniture, designed to their exact specification.
To commission a bespoke piece and to play a part in the design of something exclusive is a rare and special experience and provides a behind-the-scenes insight into the provenance of a piece of furniture – offering a unique opportunity to liaise with the skilled practitioners who have invested so much into the crafting of your new piece.
The design process is never the same and can be a very quick and simple process for those who know exactly what they want or at the extreme a very long process with a client who reassesses their needs once the opportunities become apparent. As designers we are here to guide the client through the process but also educate them to the wide range of materials, techniques, specialist products and forms that can elevate the functional to the exceptional.
There will be many clients who are not aware of the vast range of natural timbers, veneers, finishes, fittings and construction techniques that can open up an entirely different route for a design to follow.
Having a client who truly wants to create something completely unique is a wonderful if rare occurrence and it must be said an expensive one as the cost of design development and prototyping can be considerable.
As craftspeople we are constantly intrigued and challenged by the requests of our clients, but it is part of all truly talented craftspeople to relish the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge and succeed at pushing materials and structures beyond the accepted norms. It is also true that being asked to make something to the finest traditional cabinetmaking specifications gives us equal pleasure. New does not preclude traditional and vis versa in many ways the opportunity to combine both can be the perfect commission presenting intellectual and technical challenges that we all enjoy.
There is nothing quite as rewarding for both the designer and craftsperson to deliver a commission and have a client eulogise about the piece. We are delighted that they are so happy but we are equally as grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to make our living creating such beautiful and treasured pieces.