Words by Rob Lessmann, MD and founder of luxury interior design studio Design’d Living
Furniture from all over the world is becoming more readily available thanks to a thriving e-commerce community and dedicated designers who seek out the very best the world has to offer. No longer do we have to wait for our travels to pick up one-of-a-kind items from far flung destinations crafted by artisan producers, nowadays, these producers are online or stocked in amazing boutiques across the globe.
With social media creating a wave of influences globally, finding hidden gems, unknown new and upcoming designers and those that have been carrying on traditions for centuries has never been easier.
With trends becoming more eclectic, the likes of cottagecore and even cluttercore have seen designers and consumers embrace having a mix of styles, colours patterns and textures in the home. TikTok videos and Pinterest are awash with ‘I made it, I’m crafty’ and magazines feature international designers as a given and even high street stores now stock one off collaborative collections with new exciting up and coming visionaries. Couple this with the desire to restore and renew items which previously would have ended up in a car boot sale or antiques shop mean that quality really is singing true.
We are fortunate in the UK to have some of the best craftspeople in the world, many who take their inspiration from their travels. Take ‘Based Upon’ for example, the depth of texture in their designs is something I love, they state they are artists, creators and adventurers, their designs clearly depict this.
I believe clients are becoming more discerning, they understand bespoke craftmanship, the quality of traditionally made items and now appreciate the finer details an artisan producer will include in their work. They’re also doing their homework and demanding more from their products.
Sustainability has had a huge influence on this trend, making customers much more aware of the processes which goes into making cheaper furniture. The revolution in fast fashion is starting to show in interiors. Rather than buy it cheap and change it frequently, we’re now, thankfully, starting to see a revival in quality. Upcycling, buying vintage and seeking out traditionally skilled workers and producers.
Programmes like Grand Designs or Escape to the Chateaux have highlighted the quality and finishes available not only in the added extras like accessories, but in the bare bones of a build. The materials used to craft stone walls and more importantly the skills needed to create it. These skills are what set quality and design apart. Passed down from generation to generation with each family working in a different way. Each country then has their own version for the skill, their own materials and colours that they blend seamlessly into the style of that location.
In the last 10 years, we have started to see a revival of craftspeople pushing boundaries with international design and the blending of styles and indeed designers. Take the ‘Wave Collection’ by The Refined Workshop, a British company, designed by Staffan Tollgard, a Swedish designer, with his Italian colleague, Filippo Castellani, making the collection in Slovenia.
The borders we once had in place for design are long gone. We now have a seamlessly blended melting pot of design creativity. The young designers and craftsmen and women are in for a treat. Not only do they have the blessing of years of traditional skills to lean and embrace, but now they can interpret them with new technology breakthrough and materials.
Design consultant Rob Lessmann founded Design’d Living in 2015. The company offers contemporary interior design and consultancy, inspired by modern living.