Now more than ever we find our clients want to be part of the design journey, they want the pieces within their homes to be symbolic of their own belief system, to have integrity, to have a story, to be one-off art like pieces and most importantly to be sustainable. Artisan, Aiveen Daly, gives us some insight on how she applies these principles to her work and how others can do the same by Lux-Cycling…
I started my business Aiveen Daly as an upholstery studio focussing on decorative furniture and soft furnishings. The studio now creates a variety of textile-based commissions for very high-end interior designers and architects globally. We offer a wide range of techniques for example hand painting on leather, hand beading and embroidery, specialist pleat work and fabric manipulation. Each commission varies wildly in terms of materials and style but is consistently hand made in our London studio.
As with many peers in the world of luxury interiors, we have been focussing on sustainability. The holy grail for me is to reduce our overall imprint on the environment without compromising design and quality for our clients. I am interested to see how we can work towards a circular model of making, extend product life and reduce waste, particularly foam and packaging. We recently signed up to the Walpole Sustainability Manifesto which is guiding our path.
Upholstery is a really valuable craft for prolonging the life of furniture. It is incredibly versatile and goes far beyond refreshing top fabric on an armchair. However, clients are demanding and sophisticated and it is our job to entice them towards the concept of ‘Lux-cycling’. The furniture has to be desirable in its own right and be almost better than the original for it to be accepted.
Lux-cycled furniture doesn’t have to be vintage or antique. It could simply be pre-owned. We hear so much about clothing going to landfill but furniture has the same problem with unsold stock or barely used items going to skips.
We encourage designers to show us what they have access to so we can help them to reinvent it. Our aim is to elevate far beyond the original. It needs to feel fresh, have the appearance of ‘new’, be uber luxurious and have a story to boot!
There are so many ways you can do this. A good upholsterer will help you to change the shape of the internal frame, add show wood or plinths. You can swap loose cushions for a fully fitted seat, add a skirt or metal legs. At Aiveen Daly we have a design palette of over 100 details to choose from to subtly embellish the piece. Any details from the Aiveen Daly collection for example can also be applied to your existing furniture.
Another area we are focussing on is repurposing our off-cuts, particularly leather. We have developed some beautiful hand painted leather butterflies, leather flowers and leaves which can all be made from smaller pieces. We have been approached by one of our clients the salvage company Retrouvius, who have a huge stash of leather from a liquidated company which we are really keen to use.
Longer term the human aspect of sustainability is also important for me. Keeping my team happy and working in a progressive, respectful environment is key. Right now, we are in Covid -19 lock down. What a good time to quietly think about better loving this beautiful planet we live on.
To view Aiveen Daly’s work click here