Inspirational design, the most traditional manufacturing methods, stringent environmental and health and safety standards, the shortest delivery times and the best after sales service - when it comes to furniture, British is best!
With 2012 having been a year of celebrations and patriotic fervour for Britain, with the Olympic Games and Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations; Britain's furniture industry is feeling the benefits.
According to research by The British Furniture Confederation, more than one in four Britons (28%) agree they have become more inclined to buy British this year and almost half (45%) thought it was important to buy British when it comes to furniture*.
This is being reflected in the office design industry with Area and its sister furniture business Sketch Studios, seeing a revival in the availability of high-end, iconic British furniture pieces. This is helping Area give offices the Great British treatment with vintage curios, funky, up-cycled furniture and the latest in British design and workmanship.
Despite centuries of tradition going into the manufacture of furniture in Britain, with craft skills having been conceived, developed and perfected in this country over many years, and great designers such as Thomas Chippendale, Eileen Gray, Tom Dixon and Ron Arad having made outstanding contributions to the industry - Area have at times found themselves in the frustrating position of having to go through overseas suppliers to get bespoke pieces to finish a project.
For Area it has been irritating, because if they were always able to 'Buy British', it would mean fewer furniture miles, and Area are keen to support British manufacturers wherever possible, particularly as many have suffered a great deal in the recession.
Unfortunately many UK furniture manufacturers now no longer exist and for some, assembling components produced overseas to create furniture, is now central to their business. The economy has had much to do in causing this drive to cheaper imported furniture. There are now multiple factories around the world who can manufacture the exact same piece of furniture from a blueprint plan.
Despite this, there is still good demand in the UK for high-end pieces manufactured by UK companies. With British style having always been a combination of tradition and innovative design, in these tough economic times, people are increasingly looking to names they know and trust. In design for high-end pieces, the UK leads the way, with factories around the world rushing out copies with frightening speed.
This is being reflected in Area and Sketch Studios latest projects, with every single one of them incorporating British sourced products. James Burleigh, is a favourite British manufacturer of ours. They produce UK handmade benching and tables and we have recently used their products in our projects with Moneysupermarket, Landesk and Serco. NaughtOne who only use wood and fabrics within a 30 mile radius of their factory, are another regular choice of ours. The benefit of this is continuity for our clients. We can be assured that if we need to order extra pieces in the future, the company can draw on local supplies rather than trying to bring in different components from around the world.
Area and Sketch Studios look to promote their manufacturers on every single project, particularly when they sit down and talk at the planning stage with their clients. They also regularly offer to take their clients to visit the factories and see the workmanship that goes into these products.
It seems the future for the furniture industry is the niche market and the production of high end bespoke pieces. However, it is also important to accept that we are in a global market and the furniture industry is having to adapt in response to this.
So what is your office waiting for? Go, get out the Chesterfields...
- by Guenaelle Watson
Speak directly with Area and Sketch Studios today to find out how you could transform your office environment or complete your workspace with that 'Piece de resistance' British item. Tweet us your favourite Great British piece of furniture @AreaSq or @Sketchfurniture.