January 12 2011
“I always wanted to be an artist, but I’m happy using my hands in a more practical way,” says Rupert Bevan. His leap from canvas to bespoke furniture was achieved by taking a four-year apprenticeship straight from school with restorer Salvatore Titian, with whom he learnt the rapidly vanishing skills of gilding, lacquering, painting and polishing wood.
Bevan now designs and makes bespoke furniture at his own studios in London and Shropshire, aided by an on-site team of 16 specialist craftsmen, and also undertakes interior projects. “We’re a one-stop shop – we design, make and finish,” he says. “It’s unusual for clients not to have to go elsewhere for certain parts such as hinges. We work across a very broad spectrum of projects in many different styles, both classical and contemporary, and understand all the materials involved.”
The Soho House group and top interior decorators such as Nicky Haslam are among Bevan’s clients. His private-commission requests have included an extending dining table in fumed oak (from £12,000), a hall table in a mix of stone, veneer and bronze (from £6,000) and a cocktail cabinet in antiqued mirror glass with bronze and leather detail (second picture, from £10,000).
Among his contemporary designs are a cabinet in lacquered timber with inset panels of distressed silvered and crackled gesso (from £10,000) and a console table in fumed oak and ebonised timber (from £2,500). Meanwhile, period-inspired pieces have included a 1950s-style chair in oiled, sandblasted oak (from £1,000) and a 1920s-style sun-lounger in painted timber (third picture, from £2,500). One client commissioned a specialist finish for his kitchen walls so Bevan installed panels wrapped with a crackled gesso finish (similar projects from £8,000). Another client asked him to cover a cloakroom’s walls with antiqued mirror glass, and he also created a library/study for a bookworm with 28,000 tomes. This involved designing and installing all the woodwork, flooring, wall finishes, leather columns and a glass staircase. A similar large-scale architectural project would cost about £250,000.
First picture shows Mont Blanc cabinet, currently £1,225.