Each item carefully crafted by an artisan contains a story. It could be a story of inspiration — the muses and influences behind a work of art. It could be a story of tradition and technique — a rare skill passed from master to apprentice over generations, precious for its rarity as well as the works of beauty it produces.
It is often a story of dedication to perfection despite all obstacles, and the willingness to linger over fine details in a fast-paced and mechanized world.
These are the stories we have curated for our Luxury Home & Design Show, which will bring together world-class artisans June 21–24, 2018, in Vancouver. Attendees will engage with these artisans and their work firsthand.
Through our Artisan Gallery, we give readers a glimpse of these stories.
Haute couture from the runway to the living room
Fendi Casa tailors a piece of furniture like a fine suit or handbag. While Fendi has been among the top made-in-Italy haute couture brands for generations, it also began specializing in impeccably made home decor in the 1980s.
Its home-fashion is clearly inspired by the runway. From hand-stitched leather detailing on sofas to fur throws, to buckle-like decorative elements, it’s almost as if the furniture has slipped into some of Fendi’s finest apparel.
The classic roots of Fendi’s aesthetic are perhaps best exemplified in its first flagship store in Italy. Located in the Palazzo Carcassola Grandi in Milan — a 15th-century building with neoclassical features — the store contains historic frescos and inlaid wooden ceilings.
Yet Fendi Casa also incorporates all the colours, materials, and avante garde pizazz of the ever-evolving fashion world. And it weaves in all the comfort of a fine garment, with cotton as soft as cashmere, hand-woven silk, velvet, and other materials to cozy into at the end of a long day.
Photo courtesy of Fendi Casa
An armchair cruiser
With Bentley’s home collection, your armchair becomes the driver’s seat. Bentley Home captures “the spirit of the British gentleman driver.”
Its handmade furniture is inspired by the techniques, materials and finishes that characterise Bentley’s renowned car interiors. Smooth or quilted leather, crystal shelves, and gunmetal finishes are among the features crafted by Bentley Home.
The unique inspiration behind this decor line creates an environment that is relaxed and comfortable while also recalling the freedom and adventure of a road trip or pleasure cruise.
Photo courtesy of Bentley Home
A space thoughtfully crafted for rest and healing
In Korean villages, people would often go to the local charcoal kiln to warm up and bathe on cold days. While the kiln was primarily meant to make tree rounds into charcoal, it became a kind of sauna.
There was more wisdom in this traditional practice than perhaps those early kiln-users realized, since we now know that this charcoal has health benefits. It can absorb toxins and purify air.
Canadian Paul Hennessey travelled the world collecting exactly this kind of wisdom, on a quest to build the perfect healing environments for modern homes. From the kiln-sauna traditions of Korea to a healing salt cave in Germany, to the sound-vibration therapy in a Swiss “singing room,” Hennessey collected wellness knowledge.
He also gathered innovative ideas from spas, and crafted sauna-like rooms that are not only healing, but also beautiful. His signature WelPod has walls made entirely of Himalayan salt rock, proven to boost the immune system and energy levels. The walls are illuminated, emanating a soft, orangy-pink light.
The blackened tree rounds — charcoal made the traditional Korean way — have become a unique design feature of Hennessey’s company, Circle Wellness Studios.
Photo courtesy of Circle Wellness
Aesthetic of ancient Japan
In the Kisendo workshop in Toyama, Japan, traditional know-how lives still. The metalwork and woodwork that create its renowned incense burners, teapots, vases, sake cups, and more are all carefully done by hand. A single piece can take three weeks or more to create.
Since its founding in 1946, Kisendo’s refined handicrafts have been treasured in temples and the homes of prominent families in Japan. But their harmony and intricate details — from roaring dragons to glistening flowers engraved in silver — have also found appreciation worldwide.
Kisendo’s iron tea-kettle designs are inspired by a 16th-century tea master named Sen no Rikyū, who emphasized a rustic simplicity in tea ceremonies. Kisendo co-owner Susumu Yotsukawa explains that his workshop’s designs reflect the “aesthetic imperfection” of nature.
“We value [what’s] natural,” Yotsukawa says. He gives an example: “Even from a single leaf, we take a line from the single leaf and that will influenced the design.”
Photo courtesy of Kisendo
Text by Tara dos Santos