Famous for its bespoke furniture, Linley is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an increasingly strong reputation for interior design
A quarter of a century on, there’s plenty to celebrate at the quintessentially British brand Linley. A fast growing interior design service and a burgeoning gift business have been added to the portfolio of finely made furniture for which this company is so well known, and all of it is united by one thing, as managing director Olivier Cardon explains: ‘Everything we do harks back to the tradition of fine English craftsmanship and its beautiful quality.’
Founded by David Linley, who trained at the School for Craftsmen in Wood at Parnham House in Dorset, the company began as a cabinet-making business specialising in bespoke furniture. Today, it has a team of 40 staff and Linley remains its chairman with an active continued involvement in design. There are shops in Belgravia and Mayfair, as well as a concession in Harrods, which opened last autumn, selling gifts and accessories.
‘Bespoke pieces remain the heart of our business,’ says Cardon. These range from wine cabinets to marquetry panels (and more unusual pieces, such as an architectural humidor based on the Boston Red Sox stadium), all made in the UK at specialist workshops. Linley now also produces an impressive collection of 85 pieces of retail furniture and upholstery plus an extensive range of gifts and accessories, including silver frames produced to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary and a silver music box that plays Happy Birthday on opening.
And the interior design service? ‘It grew organically from the bespoke side of the business about eight years ago,’ says Cardon. ‘We would make a beautiful desk and then the client might ask us to re-do the whole office.’ Now the company takes on about six or seven major projects a year, from private homes to offices and hotels (including 20 suites in Claridge’s). The team of five is headed by Charlie Robertson, the recipient of last year’s idfx Design Award for best bathroom.
‘While initially the service was a by-product of our furniture business, in the past two years it has gathered speed and now stands alone,’ says Cardon, who plans to double the size of the interior design business within three years. As you might expect, given this company’s cabinet-making heritage, the emphasis is on quality, craftsmanship and timeless elegance. ‘People come to us because they want something sophisticated that will still feel good after time.’ And the projects do not all include Linley furniture. ‘We are not using our interior design service to flog our products,’ Cardon says. ‘We work with a range of suppliers who share our attention to detail and quality so we might include just one Linley stool that the client loves.’
This article was first published in idfx Magazine.