commissioning bespoke

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How to commission a unique piece of furniture without breaking the bank

  • October 15, 2022
 (Holloway Li)

(Holloway Li)

Bespoke. The word ‘bespoke’ has become so ubiquitous in the design community that some believe its very meaning has been erased. From the perspective of artisans conjuring heirlooms from tree trunks and keepsakes from fragments of metal, adapting an off-the-shelf cushion with a so-called bespoke trim in one of five available colourways falls into a separate category entirely from the one in which they are operating. Of course, personalised details can still lend a sense of individuality and identity to a home overall, but for purists, the cushion itself cannot be said to be truly bespoke. Absolute uniqueness is the determining factor in the creation of a piece of furniture or artwork worthy of the divisive adjective; the uniqueness of the brief, the special relationship between the maker and the commissioner, and of course, the sheer originality of the finished piece contribute in equal parts to its bespoke status.

Charu Gandhi, the founder of the well-known interior design firm, Elicyon, is quick to tell me that it’s high time the process of commissioning bespoke furniture, accessories or gifts was demystified and democratised, going as far as to say that, “commissioning a bespoke piece can sometimes work out as the same price as purchasing a branded piece of furniture.” Gandhi believes that commissioning bespoke furniture has too long been the preserve of the super-rich and that with the right knowledge and a nudge in the right direction, the option is open to the bespoke-curious at any budget. So this week, I spoke to some of the top interior designers about how they approach commissioning bespoke furniture for their clients and how beginners might be able to get involved.

Establish your motivation

The first step on the journey to commissioning your first piece of furniture, artwork or

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