September 23 2010
Quirico is an e-commerce site with an aesthetically diverse range of craft-based homeware. But somehow it hangs together, in part because the pieces are all stylish, despite often looking very different. At one extreme it has the richly decorative upholstered furniture of Beirut-based company Bokja, at the other Italian company Dessie’s simple, almost spartan wooden furniture.
Founder Sarah Richards spent six years in Milan, where she discovered so many stunning artisan-made products that, on returning to London in 2007, she set up Quirico to introduce them to the British market. “The things that caught my eye were both contemporary and well made – something you don’t find very often,” she says. “And I soon realised many of them weren’t available in the UK.”
Certainly the most eye-catching are by Bokja, which is known for its one-off pieces: it upholsters 1950s, 1960s and 1970s furniture with a patchwork of recycled textiles from Uzbekistan, central Asia and other Silk Road countries, which, though crazily mismatched, are harmonious. While no two pieces are the same, Bokja can remake each of them to look very similar to the original piece. These include the long Kate Hudson stool (£2,539), named after the actor who commissioned the first version, and the sumptuously colourful Marakanda pouffes (first picture, £425 each).
Despite their monastic simplicity, Dessie’s tables, cabinets, sideboards and chests of drawers are made of top-notch woods, from stained oak to wenge. A super-pared-down example is the Kwaak table (£2,400).
Quirico also stocks venerable Milan-based architect Michele de Lucchi’s Produzione Privata line, which includes the Kado vase in three sizes (from £215) and, in sharp contrast, a perhaps pointless if irresistibly ornamental lemon tree in laser-cut metal (£465).
Quirico almost sounds like quirky and that’s a good word to describe its wares – though they happen to be supremely elegant with it.
Second picture: Serenissama Bailos chair and Bailo chair, £2,250 and £2,750 each.