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
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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