March 09 2011
Paul de Zwart was inspired to set up furniture firm Another Country last year out of frustration at not being able to find a particular item – a three-legged stool. Indeed, his wares partly appeal for their rustic charm, yet de Zwart wasn’t after a Marie Antoinette-style milking stool. “I wanted one low enough to use as a bedside table for my Tolomeo lamp [Italian designer Michele de Lucchi’s classic 1980s light],” he explains. “My vain search for a high-quality, fairly priced, sophisticated yet simple piece, suited to both a city apartment and country house, got me thinking about forming the company.”
Allergic to “overdesigned” furniture, de Zwart is a fan of ultra-pared-down Shaker and Scandinavian woodwork as well as traditional English country kitchens. His pieces, all of which he and Dominic Parish (one of his business partners) design, are hand-crafted by Another Country craftsmen in Dorset, and are robust works usually in oak or ash. A basic collection, called Series One – which includes Stool One (£155; a scaled-down version for children, first picture, costs £140) and a dining table that costs from £1,350 – provides a flexible template for custom-made designs. De Zwart has provided two day beds – resized to be narrower and lower than the original design (third picture) – for a client’s Cornwall home (about £1,650 each) and bespoke 2.5m-wide wardrobes (from £4,000 to £5,000).
Otherwise, Another Country creates completely original, tailormade pieces (which take some six to eight weeks to deliver from the date they’re commissioned). Requests have included a shoe rack for 30 pairs of shoes for a hallway (£1,750) and a very low table for guests to sit around on the floor, for a Hong Kong client.
For anyone who thinks plain wood looks too austere, also on offer are cushion pads for benches. And there’s a line of accessories that boasts one of the wittiest candlesticks (second picture) I’ve seen, with a giant wooden matchbox (containing matches) for a base (£19.95).