The elegant Italian leather trinket boxes that have recently arrived on the virtual shelves of online home accessories brand Les Few were sewn on the same edge-stitch machines used to make the original camera cases for Hasselblad and Leica. It is this kind of detail that makes the New York-based e-store stand out. Many companies talk loftily of craft and heritage; fewer truly deliver.
Les Few was founded in 2014 by Swedish designer Eva Eklöf, who pairs a minimalist aesthetic (she is related to pioneering midcentury architect Sven Eklöf) with a knack for seeking out skilled craftspeople. “In many cases the search is driven by my desire to work in a certain material,” she says, highlighting the 80 per cent recycled Swedish brass used in the Armance collection. This gleaming, mirror-smooth brass has been handspun into bowls containing (unscented) black and white candles (from £65), and also appears in the lids of those lovely leather trinket boxes (from £225). “We buy solid rods of brass that are lathed to the shapes we need so there are no visible joints or hardware,” Eklöf explains.
The Vanina Vanini range of wooden boxes (from £445), meanwhile, was inspired by Eklöf’s desire to work with sycamore, and is produced by a factory founded in 1907. “The centennial knowledge here is invaluable,” she says. “They still use an original lathe, but have also embraced new technologies such as CNC.” This is important to Eklöf; her aim is not to push a nostalgic handmade-is-best ethos, but to protect and promote talented craftspeople by creating objets that appeal to sophisticated contemporary tastes. Take the supremely minimal cone-shaped Vanina Vanini brass paperweight (£95) and strikingly striped handblown glass Beyle vases (from £325); both prove that craft has a vibrant future in a high-tech world.