When the new-look mydeco.com launched in November we wanted to say bah humbug to the high street hum-drum and hello to a specially selected bundle of beautiful, handpicked product and design. And I think it’s safe to say we have.
Now, not only do we have a new website and new outlook, we have a new year to go with it. So I thought it would be timely to introduce you to bark, one of our handpicked suppliers that helped launch the invigorated, curated mydeco.com.
We used bark’s gorgeous pink leaf two-seater Acorn sofa in our launch photo shoot, above. We chose this specific product from our collection because it embodies a lot of the qualities we want to bring to homes to make them happier places to live: Brave, bright, bold colour; original design; made by hand; made with sustainable materials; and created with love and attention.
bark claim their work ‘harks back to a bold period in furniture design and is inspired by the mid-century modern era, when confidence in proportion, modesty in detail and simplicity of construction were the defining characteristics’. This is very apt for us as mydeco.com aims to encourage people to be more confident and braver with their home furnishings.
To find out more, I spoke to Lakshmi Bhaskaran, one half of the husband and wife team behind the Cornish design practice:
Do you think furniture makers were more confident in the mid-century modern era than now?
‘It is much harder to design a simple piece that remains striking and memorable. Many mid-century modern designs were memorable for being pared back – a far cry from the traditional furniture that had been made for the 200 years that preceded it. That is confidence.’
How has the confidence of consumers changed between then and now?
‘Unfortunately, until recently there had been a change of emphasis away from quality of design and construction towards cheap production and mass market appeal. Today, though, we are seeing a resurgence in the consumers’ desire for well made, well designed, locally produced furniture that will stand the test of time.
‘I think consumers today have more confidence than in the past because they are so much better informed. At the click of a mouse they can search worldwide for the latest products and find out where to buy them.
‘I don’t think consumers play it safe in the home as a matter of course. If anything, it is the mass manufacturers who tend to play it safe. If this is all consumers get to see it is what they will buy.
Your designs are angular, defined and striking. What do your customers like about them?
‘Our customers are an eclectic bunch of individuals confident enough in their own judgement to know what works in their home. Our designs are simple, use natural materials and are built to last. They do not dominate the spaces they inhabit; they complement rather than compete.’
Can you briefly explain the design and manufacturing process of your pieces?
‘We design pieces that we would love to have in our own home,’ Lakshmi explains. ‘The design process always begins with a conversation – this can happen at any time, from walking the dog along the Cornish coastline to weeding the garden!
‘We then spend quite a few weeks or even months thinking about a new piece. That consciousness allows us to pick up ideas, thoughts and images along the way so that when it comes to putting pencil to paper, most of the design dialogue is already in our heads. Then we need a quiet room, some paper, sharp pencils and time – lots and lots of time.
‘Rough sketches lead to more detailed drawings and, finally, a scale model, which is then mulled over for days. We always make 1/5th scale models as this allows us to view the piece from all angles and can be quickly and inexpensively tweaked and revised until we’re both happy. Then we go straight to a full scale prototype, which is made to the exact specification of the final product.’
There’s been a resurgence in ’50s furniture in 2011. What do you think attracts consumers to this period?
‘The last forty years have been a period of innovation within the furniture industry as designers and companies have experimented with plastics, vinyl, ply and other man-made materials, as well as with automated manufacturing techniques. As a result, the costs of manufacture have fallen dramatically, though often at the expense of individuality and quality.
‘It is our firm belief that consumers have a desire for well made, well designed products that use natural materials and are handmade rather than machine-made, all of which are reflected in the iconic furniture of the fifties.’
Your use of colour is very eye-catching. What colour confidence advice can you offer?
‘Don’t be afraid of colour. If you aren’t too confident why not start with accessories – a cushion here, a lampshade there. Small items such as these are the perfect way to ‘test’ colour within a space before making a bolder move, and can just as easily be moved to the spare room. If in doubt, ask a friend. What’s the worst that can happen?’
Your one top tip to being more confident and braver in the home?
‘Creating a great interior space is a very personal thing. Choose things that remind you of you; that make you smile.’
And one thing to avoid?
Don’t go overboard. Less is more. It is better to spend the same amount on one stunning piece than on half a dozen mediocre pieces.’
Ellie was mydeco.com's fabulous Editor for three years, and is now off exploring South America. Read more posts by Ellie.