What does bespoke mean to you? We had that question put to us by a guest at the preview of our current exhibition, A Design Lineage: The Rusland Movement at Blackwell. It was pretty easy for us to answer and we were confused as to why anyone would need to ask. But, it seems, the waters are muddied nowadays and the concept of made-to-measure versus truly bespoke is causing much confusion.
Bespoke is an over, and often wrongly used term of late. We don’t think that is intentional, although certainly misguided and, sadly, contributing to a distortion of its true meaning which in our opinion is in danger of undermining the value of craft, design and the worthiness of whatever it is that it is incorrectly used in reference to. Yet this need not be the case.
Roughly 90% of the kitchens and furniture we design and make are truly bespoke, with our design team working closely beside our clients and visiting their homes before even putting pencil to paper. Both our designers and clients find the prospect of seeing something that has never existed before, start life in a sketch book, move through to the workshop to ultimately sit within their home or work space, wonderfully exciting.
Our cabinetmakers also find the prospect of making something that has never been made before an exciting way to work as each design brings new challenges and cause to think creatively as they set about their task
A small number of our clients, however, prefer to take an existing design and “tweak” it to fit their space and purpose. When this happens, we think of the commission as “made to measure”, a term more often associated with the fashion industry but which perfectly sums up this way of working.
Taking advantage of the made to measure approach to can be an extremely convenient way to commission one of our designs which you might have already seen and fallen in love with, only to have discovered it to be not quite right for you home, and provide us with your wish list of alterations, quite often just dimensions, in order to make that piece fit perfectly.
Bespoke or made to measure, it’s entirely up to you.