Contemporary-classic furniture, made to order

Covetable custom-made pieces from a Brighton workshop

Fans of a fashionable aesthetic – a contemporary-classic look with echoes of midcentury modernism – have beaten a path to Brighton-based Dare Studio since it launched at London’s 100% Design show in 2009. Around 30 per cent request customised adaptations of furniture created by this family-run firm, while others commission totally bespoke designs.

Take Dare’s bestseller – the Katakana desk (first picture). Available in solid American black walnut (£2,700) or white oak (£2,550) with a leather writing surface, it has nicely thought-out features including two leather-lined drawers with sloping bases so pens roll to the front. Two A4 paper recesses, cable management and a secret storage area add to its appeal. Dare has adapted its dimensions, materials and colours for numerous clients. “We’ve had requests for beech and also grainy Douglas fir,” says Sean Dare. “One client wanted two desks joined back-to-back. Another requested a mustard-yellow leather top. And one homeowner wanted an L-shaped version to fit a corner with an awkward 97-degree angle.”


Everything is handmade to order, which allows for considerable flexibility. “We’ll tackle anything within technical restraints,” says Dare. One client commissioned a pair of rosewood veneer sideboards (£4,000 each) to match his rosewood dining table, while a London banker ordered an oval-topped, splay-legged dining table in solid American black walnut (£6,500). And Dare recently collaborated with Channel 4 news anchorman Jon Snow for Liberty’s National Treasures collection on a desk (£2,995) and chair (pictured, £825), both available exclusively at Liberty.


Home accessories, such as coat stands and wall mirrors, are also custom-made, while the studio’s attractive, contemporary lighting is proving popular too. Indeed, the BBC’s brand-new offices will soon be lit by Dare’s Fujiya lights (desk lamp from £265; floor lamp from £660).

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