The way in which we do this is through mixed media; developing new innovative and advanced finishing techniques and combining them on designs inspired by past tastemakers, in such a way that creates a distinctively unique piece through the art of exquisite craftsmanship.
Leather Wrap: The use of Leather Wrap is very much present in our line today, the Richter Collection is a fine example. These pieces are beautifully clad and saddle stitched in Leather with subtle Aged Brass details to enhance and contrast the design. Inspired by mid-century masters such as Jacques Adnet, this technique involves hand wrapping the finest textured leather around Steel frames.
The technique itself requires a high standard of craftsmanship. In order to make sure that the results were on point we spent a lot of time perfecting the wrapping, aligning and positioning joins, making inhouse tools to smooth out curves and turns.
Gesso: was a plaster coated onto mirror frames on which the gold leaf was applied. It was first seen used in frescos in Egypt going back 3000 years. It was then re discovered by French designers such as Jean Michel Frank and his partner Diego Giacometti in the 1920s. They used Gesso in its clean and fresh condition, hand applying the material to contrast superbly with materials such as Leather, Oak and Bronze. Later in the 1950s it was famously used by American designer John Dickinson to create unique sculptured pieces of furniture which was the main inspiration for our Pablo Collection.
Gesso is applied in layers combined with linen which creates both a sculptural and textured appearance. Julian has developed various Gesso inspired designs with three individual tones. More recently we have mastered a Faux Gesso allowing for better durability in environments such as Contract and Hospitality.
Vellum: is prepared animal skin or “membrane” originally used as a material for writing on. Vellum, also referred to as parchment, is usually made from Goat or Calf skin and has had many functions over the last 1500 years, varying from map making to book binding, producing important documentation including Government legislation and the Magna Carta. Turning the skins into vellum is a complex and time consuming process resulting in a beautiful, translucent and durable material.
In the late 1920’s Vellum was used by pioneering furniture designers and makers such as Jean-Michel Frank, mixing the skins with Oak, Bronze and Shagreen in order to create unique and beautiful designs. Rather the same as the Gesso. The way in which we finish our Vellum using a matt sealer creates a tactile and honest surface which can be seen throughout the collection. In more recent times we have added High-Gloss as an option, giving pieces more depth and originality.
With inspirations from Aldo Tura. Each skin is totally unique as the thickness and texture is never the same. It always surprises and our complex dying process has taken years to perfect.
Brass Wrap: unlike paints and powder coating this is a beautiful technique which was originally mastered by the French and Italians in the 1920s. The Brass sheets are applied in their natural state, antiqued, patinated or nickel plated with a soft textured hue.
This individually hand applied process can be seen on many of our pieces including the Portobello Cabinet, Etienne Four Poster Bed and our ever popular Garcon Collection. This process is skilfully applied by hand and never by machine, resulting in each piece retaining its unique sensibility…with those perfect imperfections. If applied by machine, the finish is one dimensional, and yells ‘new.’ The hand applied brass gives the piece some age and a much needed paired down appearance.
Finally…our newest and most exciting finish… Metal Coating.
We have managed to perfect covering a substrate with solid 100% pure bronze or Brass or even Zinc. This is made possible by using enormous heat to turn the metal into fine dust. This is then blown with a powerful air source onto what we are endeavouring to coat. The result is rough like sandpaper. After a lengthy sanding process one begins to see the results. Different chemicals are used to achieve a variety of patinations. The resulting finish is cold to touch and rather similar to the Vellum… each piece is unique in both texture and appearance.
Julian Chichester is primarily an individualist – a tastemaker rather than a follower…
Thinking consciously, making changes and making a difference