A designer who Lives it – Classics and Quality

For a designer having quality furniture in your own life means constant reference to the real deal and continual reference to detail.  Designers and quality controllers need to not only have grown through a driving career based on technical experience, but they need to have the rub off from historical richness and detail: The best retail design practitioners (and I’m thinking of Rob Scarlett for example) seem to breathe it; it’s a given and they have it in their DNA from birth.

To find the right quality in a designer look at not only a good CV but peer into his world, where he or she lives and how they seek out their daily inspiration.  It is so important to have the right fundamental appreciation framework.  It keeps your ideas intact when working under the daily design production process. Fundamentals which recur and manifest through to the surface even under pressure or jet lag.

With the right fundamentals the client/designer relationship shares the common ground: a love of quality and classics could be enough to carry forward long term partnerships.

Casa Parma lounge restored 17th century chest and fire surround

If I need to check a Louise cabriole leg proportion I go into the dining room.

Beyond that if one were to strip back the ornamentation of these fair pieces one would have a stunning modern sku!… ready for lacquer and glass top… and shooting next day for a web launch for example.

You can do that alongside the real article in a way that strikes more powerful chord … out of what is known and measurable. The result should resonate, become easily ranged and simply sell well because of its genuine pedigree.

Fundamentals in classics, I believe are the crucial building blocks of success in retail design today.

Wild Italian cabriole gilded tavolino with faux Sienna marble top 17th century

THE Challenging Design Brief


The Challenging Design Brief
Jatex International USA
2005 - Nov 2006: Jatex International, USA Design: 
Furniture and Accessories

Appointed with the brief to bring immediate fresh 
change to unusual blend of product ranges 
which became one of my biggest career challenges. 
Jatex wanted a spicy twist of Turkish 
wovens, copper features, warm tones and Italian flair. 
This posed problems of material 
handling: I created 3 stories which were made in 
2 forms:

1. Copper: XXL Minimalist bowls and platter sets
2. Soft Furniture: Ethnic weaves and leathers dash 
Italian frames dash Chicago Lounger
My key concern was that the two partners were not in accord.
I had to work with two different world views to find
a common theme.
Additionally because copper was unpopular 
in the market place I struggled to dig out a "Look".  
Creative Challenge: I had not designed metal wares 
for 2 years and I felt a bit 'rusty' mmm sorry about that.. 
After a failed plate design while working on site in Istanbul, 
I created bolder forms, large minimalist platters and bowls 
that overcame style limitations and thankfully these came 
through sampling beautifully and were an immediate success. 
I found the threads by pure hard work, extra long hours and finally
I pulled together the edges forming a unique brand for Jatex: 
Classic Chicago lounge, minimalist and rich spicy twists.

“Jatex now have a truly popular Global theme

Chicago Style Jatex USA  
Finding the brand ID for Jatex International USA needed a sharp eye for line as the
detailing required the signature richness of copper leaf or copper inlay.
Attended Atlanta, Canton shows and comp shopped/researched 
new product skus.
 Sourced complimentary story of Zen ceramics from Foshan China and Asia.
 Designed new collection of 40 pieces in the exhibition hall, on site and 
in UK studio. Set up China sourcing agency.Furniture was another big challenge 
because the client wanted for example a very high quality chair frame sourced 
from China.  
I tasked Fanny Xiang my long time Girl Friday to source the manufacturers
and we arrive a few weeks later.
After a flood of disappointments I secured a manufacturer and stayed in 
order to secure the quality of detail and upholstery.

• Furniture Design Project: Sourced manufacturer in China for 2 
painted furniture collections comprising 4 styles. Sets included 
also, storage sideboards, low tables and consoles, all in 
rich dark patinas and aged painted finishes following Chippendale 
simple elegance lines with Oriental hints.

• 2 ranges of fusion Ebonised living room sets including 
kilim-leather mix loungers, armchairs, sideboard, storage, 
low tables, corner tables, console tables and hall stands – 
sharper lines and inlayed walnut veneer details.
Bedroom sets to match included armoires, night stands, 
headboards, mirrors, storage chests, and 
dressing tables.
Nick Garrett Desight / nickgarrett2828@yahoo.co.uk