July 13 2011
Black & Key makes seriously chic and upscale furniture inspired by art deco in general and the designer who epitomises all that is French and glamorous, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, in particular. There’s not much that is standard about its mainline collection since each of the 20 pieces is made entirely by hand and to order. However, it does also have a bespoke service, just in case none of the set combinations of luxury timber veneers (noir, macassar, sable), inlays (nickel, mother-of-pearl), upholstery (silk, wool, linen) and individually crafted door pulls appeal to its discerning clientele.
And as you might imagine, once you start talking bespoke the options become dizzying in their variety. “The sky’s the limit,” says Karin Verzariu, the designer behind the brand. “You can have different inlays, different handles, different sizes and different interiors. If you want a sideboard with a patterned front or a wardrobe with slide-away doors so that you can store your plasma TV and hi-fi inside, then we can do it.” Prices vary according to size and materials, from about £720 for a noir and nickel Empire wall mirror to about £14,490 for a Radial wardrobe in macassar and mother-of-pearl. (First picture: Yardley sideboard with Radial macassar, £4,966. Second picture: Garbo console table in macassar with nickel, £2,838.)
It seems that the greater the technical challenge, the more Verzariu enjoys the work. “The most interesting commissions always require us to create pieces that are totally in the spirit of the client’s exacting style and yet ooze glamour, great design and craftsmanship,” she says.
Black & Key, 020-8741 8010; www.blackandkey.co.uk.