Bespoke Living Interiors & Design

Artistic Flair: Meet the Furniture Makers Designing Forever Pieces

If you want to create a unique style for your home, take a look at the furniture makers designing special, unusual, and sometimes bespoke pieces

We round up the furniture makers who are individually inspired by the 1970s, a free-spirited feeling, the evil eye, Portuguese design, and Arthur C. Clarke’s novel The Sentinel—each one elevating their craft by creating unique pieces that would look perfectly in place in an art gallery. Characterized by attention to detail and often hand-finished, you’ll want to keep these special items.

Bohemian 72 Collection by Gabriella Crespi

to come here
Gabriella Crespi designed all four pieces in the Bohemian 72 collection in the spring of 1972. At the time rattan was in vogue but her decision to use repeating layers of vertically coiled vines was unusual and is now considered timeless.

Italian designer Gabriella Crespi would have turned 100 this year. To mark the occasion Gubi has released the Bohemian 72 collection. Crespi worked with rattan and bamboo, designing versatile furniture for what she called her “house of the sun.”

During her lifetime the pieces—inspired by her love of natural materials and sculptural forms—were only available to private clients. As its name suggests the collection was designed in the spring of 1972, with Crespi working from the terrace of her Milan home. Comprising a lounge chair, three-seater sofa, ottoman, and floor lamp, it is the culmination of Crespi’s career-long mission to create furniture that seamlessly unites indoor and outdoor living.

Ethimo and Studiopepe’s Sling Chair

Sling chair pictured outside beneath a large green plant
Sling chair is an ergonomic seating solution that teams stability with comfort. The Élitis fabric seat is available in different colors and patterns, so personalization is possible. Courtesy: Bernard Touillon

Like Crespi’s rattan furniture, Ethimo and Studiopepe’s Sling chair nods to the 1970s. This time it was a vintage camping kit that inspired a piece that the furniture makers hope has a free-spirited feel.

Its stainless-steel structure is available in four shades, including warm red and sepia black, while its seat is available in four fabric options—black, sand, white, and stone—making the chair highly customizable. A footstool and coffee table, with matching steel frame and pigmented concrete top, are also available.

Simon Stewart’s Charles Burnand Gallery

Le Salon Chair by Agathe Labaye and Florian Sumi features stainless-steel and a woven backrest
Le Salon chair by Agathe Labaye and Florian Sumi, represented by the Charles Burnand Gallery, is wide and deep. The woven backrest is designed much like a dorsal corset, hugging the lines of the backbone and shoulder blades.

Former classical musician Simon Stewart caught the design bug while on vacation with his interiors-savvy mother. Now championing an international group of artists, designers, and furniture makers, Stewart has just opened London’s Charles Burnand gallery to act as a showcase for their one-off, limited-edition, and bespoke creations.

“Our gallery shows our pieces in one place, allowing our clients to engage with us, and is also a dedicated space where we can work with designers, architects, and collectors to bring their ideas to fruition,” says Stewart.

Ahu’s Debut Collection, Meyhane

Two images of the Mayhane cabinet featuring blue and orange color
Ahu’s first collection is inspired by ikram, the Turkish tradition of offering guests boundless hospitality. The Waves cabinet (pictured) stores rare whiskeys and spirits for the discerning collector. Courtesy: Sinan Çırak (left) and Luke Walker (right)

Based in both London and Istanbul, Ahu specializes in custom and limited-edition designs that are as functional as they are sculptural. Founded by Eda Akaltun and Mevce Ciraci, Ahu’s debut collection, Meyhane, is inspired by the evil eye, and each piece features a handmade marbling design which is then digitally enhanced.

A mahogany and lacquer cabinet at the heart of the collection is available in three different designs: Nazar, Third Eye, and Waves. Each is hand-finished by a master carpenter in Istanbul. The artwork is then applied on the panels using a unique digital printing technology, and hand-lacquered to a glass-like high gloss.

Domkapa’s Juliet Sofa 

Curved red leather Juliet sofa by Domkapa
From hulls to straps, down to the smallest detail, all materials used in the production of Domkapa’s pieces are 100 percent Portuguese. The company prides itself on quality materials, local production, and supporting small suppliers.

Established in 2009 in northern Portugal, Domkapa’s creations are inspired by traditional Portuguese design, which is given a modern twist. Upholstery plays a big part in Domkapa’s overall style and the company’s craftspeople still manually stitch most of its armchairs and sofas.

Among its latest offerings are the Juliet sofa, a plump and rounded design with short, elegant legs, and the Colbert bench—equally rounded but higher and, says Domkapa, “it goes along with every piece of furniture, or even alone.” The brand also produces upholstered beds and outdoor furniture.

Christopher Duffy’s Megalith Coffee Table

Christopher Duffy' Megalith table in pink, which appears to be falling over
Each Megalith coffee table is handmade and finished at the Duffy London studio in east London, England, using eco-friendly materials from controlled sources and wood from Forestry Stewardship Council-managed forests.

Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey won’t be surprised that the book that inspired it, The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke, was also the inspiration for Christopher Duffy’s Megalith coffee table.

With its glass top balancing across six toppling monoliths, Duffy describes his creation as “a mind-boggling and purely concept-driven idea.” It is available with a powder-coated base section in either a single or multiple colors, as well as mirror-polished stainless-steel variants, or white and black marble options.

Banner image: The Charles Burnand Gallery. Courtesy: Sinan Çirak