Founded in 1985, LINLEY has created and dominated a niche in the interiors market. Well known for it’s high end furniture and intricate marquetry work. Their level of craftsmanship is unsurpassed, making them leaders in their field.
A few weeks ago I received an email from LINLEY inviting to me explore their store in Pimlico Road, Chelsea, and to find out a little bit more about the brand. As part of my visit, I would also visit Masterpiece Fair where LINLEY have a few special pieces on display.
The LINLEY Shop
LINLEY is synonymous with marquetry, but when you walk into the shop you realise that there is so much more to explore. Designers are kept busy with bespoke projects for clients, while shop assistants are on hand to help retail clients, there’s a nice buzz to the store. I was shown a few bespoke pieces, and while each one was very different, the LINLEY DNA was present in each piece. As a designer, I know that this is very hard to achieve, but LINLEY designers are at the top of their game and do this effortlessly. It’s great fun to play around with the pieces to try and find the secret drawers carefully included in each piece (LINLEY being well known for their secret drawers too).
The LINLEY shop is a large space, spread out over a few levels. Each ‘room’ is carefully edited and allows the furniture and accessories to be shown at their best. There really is something for everyone, and even though LINLEY is a high end luxury brand, you can buy into the LINLEY lifestyle for very little money. £50 will get you a beautifully made Sea Salt Candle and just £25 will get you a Cheese Doorstop, both make for excellent gifts too.
LINLEY at Masterpiece Fair
At Masterpiece Fair, LINLEY were exhibiting a new collection created for the event. Titled “Lightscape”, it explores how the light in the city transforms architecture. There are 3 beautifully made and technologically enhanced pieces that complete this collection, Sunrise, Noon and Dusk. Each piece coincides with activities that you associate with those three phases of the day.
Sunrise, the Gentleman’s Vanity Cabinet
This cabinet shimmers like a steel and glass structure that’s bathed in the bright morning light. “The marquetry facade of Birdseye maple veneers hand-dyed in copper tones and bleached sycamore is illuminated by iridescent mother of pearl, which grey tones of eucalyptus flow down the building, finishing in inky blue pools of shadow.
Sunrise is a very elegant piece and in true LINLEY style, very functional too. There is space in this vanity for all the pieces a gentleman needs to store. In addition to multiple drawers, there are also specialised compartments for clothes brushes, a shoehorn, ties, pocket squares, handkerchiefs and other accessories. Two watch winders and a Bamford Watch Department toolkit ensure that your watches are already ready to be worn. A secret safe is also included in this piece, but this is only revealed to the owners to be.
Noon, the City Bureau
This is an elegant piece designed to be used while working at home. The marquetry facade of grey eucalyptus and black sycamore highlighted with mother of pearl emphasises the time of day, Noon, where the shadows are cast from the light moving around the city.
I did like this piece, the drawers and compartments were a joy to explore. I must have spent a good 5 minutes opening and closing the compartments, seeing just how much detail LINLEY include on their pieces. There’s practical space for working, but also enough storage to store all your essentials. Of course, there are a good few secret compartments in this piece too, including a disguised humidor.
LINLEY are pushing the bounds of design with the inclusion of cutting edge technology in these pieces. The City Bureau includes an Odyss infotainment device, traditionally used in yachting (where LINLEY has a strong design presence too). Odyss adds a touch screen to the bureau which serves up a range of information at the touch of a button; time, maps, photographs, videos and animations.
Dusk, the Cocktail Console
This is my favourite piece in the collection. And that’s because it is an absolute show-stopper. As you approach the LINLEY exhibit at Masterpiece, you can’t help but notice the levitating, spinning shagreen tray, complete with a martini glass.
The piece itself “depicts a city building at night. The sun has set and the building in now transformed by light emanating from within.”
Mother of pearl is used extensively throughout this piece to represent the light shining from within the building. Ash burr, dark grey eucalyptus and black sycamore complete the structure of the building. The detail of the eglomisé panel featuring the familiar bend of the Thames, making it instantly recogniseable as a map of London.
Inside the console there is a cocktail shaker, ice bucket, two crystal decanters, silver spirit measure, dinner bell and a drinks preparation surface. The list goes on, but everything you need for serving cocktails in style are included in this console.
While at Masterpiece, I had a conversation with Lee Deason, Senior Designer at LINLEY. We spoke at length about the Lightscape collection as well as how LINLEY moves it’s collections forward each year. Taking inspiration from past pieces and including new ideas and incorporating technology into the new pieces to appeal to both existing and new clients.
LINLEY is an impressive brand. It has a beating heart of British design combined with the highest levels of craftsmanship.