Furniture
Julian Chichester
Timeless furniture inspired by the past, designed to be future heirlooms

In 1987, Julian Chichester swapped a busy job as a market trader in the city for travelling through Thailand with the idea of buying furniture to sell back in Britain.

 

‘In the early days it was very low key and relaxed: I had a motorbike with a sidecar to put the pieces I found in,’ recalls the designer, who began selling his eclectic selection of furniture and treasure trove of decorative homewares (four-poster beds, teak sculptures, ikat silks) from a shop on Portobello Road. Later, Julian started designing teak garden furniture himself, followed, in 1995, by the launch of his first interior collection of five pieces, all in black with gilt detail, which was received to great acclaim at the Decorex interior design show in Chicago.

 

The eponymous business has grown organically; today Julian has showrooms in London, New York, Atlanta and High Point, North Carolina, where clients can view a selection of the current collection, which consists of over 400 pieces of stylish, utterly unique furniture, accessories and lighting.

 

The current collection consists of over 400 pieces of stylish, utterly unique furniture, accessories and lighting

 

‘The very nice thing about what I do is that I have never felt as if I had to have a certain look or repeatedly use the same materials,’ Julian says, discussing the breadth of his furniture collection nowadays. ‘Our pieces are always completely fresh, made to different styles and with a variety of finishes all going into the mix.’

 

Inspired by great furniture designers such as Jean-Michel Frank, Jacques Adnet and Aldo Tura, to name a few. Julian’s skill lies in taking classical shapes from the 19th and 20th centuries, and altering them in innovative ways – think transforming motifs into something new and fresh, or adding contemporary finishes and detail. Renowned for their quality craftsmanship and original design, these pieces are strong enough to sit within any interior, whether modern or traditional, high-tech or low.

 

Around 30 to 40 new pieces are added each year, made in factories in the UK and Vietnam. It’s this manufacturing set up that enables the company to produce one-off bespoke furniture as well as large volumes for big brands and the world of contract and hospitality, where Julian is proud to partner with names that include The Pig hotels, Soho House, Rocco Forte, Red Carnation Hotels and Harbour Hotels Group.

This autumn, Focus at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is Julian’s launch pad for his new season designs, which include 14 additional striking pieces that feature bold palettes alongside his signature style of beautiful, exaggerated shapes and specialist combined finishes – just a couple of the key factors that really set this company apart from the rest.

 

In the past, Julian Chichester finishes have included faux shagreen in cobalt blue, honed white granite, zinc on linen and fine-stitched leather. ‘We have anything from pieces coated with brass and bronze to gesso and our beloved goat skin, which we often return to. We’ve also been using lots of bleached, pared-back oak,’ explains Julian, who is constantly conjuring up out-of-the-box ideas, developing new finishes and testing new designs. Furniture can also be customised to suit a customer’s individual needs, whether that involves adapting the finish and size, or making larger, more distinctive alterations altogether. So whether someone is looking for a traditional chest of drawers, a mid-century leather dining chair or a contemporary floor light, the joy of Julian Chichester is that it’s very likely to be a part of the brand’s brilliantly diverse offering.

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