We all cross the channel in search of something new, the next big trend discovered at Paris Deco Off and Maison et Objet. Newness is what the media want and what captures our insatiable appetite to consume.
As the ‘Highlights from Maison et Objet’ email lands in my inbox I wonder if we have to create brand new things each season or if brands should evolve more slowly at a considered pace and think about the 'less is more' ethos.
The evolution thread leads me to Ochre, a company that continues to grow organically while always staying true to its design roots.
Ochre is twenty years young. It launched as a London studio enterprise in 1996 and takes it name from one of the subtlest pigment shades. The moniker captures the company’s trademark love of subtle, poetic colour. The debut product was the line of Dolce Vita lights. These exquisitely crafted water gilded, gesso lamp bases were swiftly ordered by Bergdorf Goodman. Ochre’s prowess at lighting secured the reputation of the company. Striking chandeliers, handcrafted in bronze, metal and hand blown glass, are now part of Ochre’s DNA.
The three designers work together in an intuitive way, guided by a fascination with materials, a deep appreciation of craftsmanship and a desire to create understated yet luxurious furniture and lighting with a timeless, harmonious appeal. The graceful silhouettes, visceral textures and gentle patinas are all achieved through intense research and a rigorous creative process. The team has a mastery of surface technique as well as engineering and construction.
Each product might take over a year in development. The drive is a fascination with re - interpreting age-old crafts – gilding, lacquer, metal casting, and glass blowing – with a contemporary sensibility to create multi-functional pieces that enhance our lives.
There’s a sense of integrity and exclusivity underlying all of Ochre’s handmade designs and the catalogue now reaches to over thirty families of designs that range from sinuous horn handles, to generous armchairs and sofas clad in tactile combinations of nubuck and velvet to hand -patinated steel cabinets and limed oak dining tables. Each year a few new products are introduced and classics evolve. New leather clad, hand stitched Sable dining chairs and the Mirage woven stainless steel and organza lighting. There are also fresh family members to existing lines such as the best selling Seed Cloud lighting range.
Ochre’s collections are born through intense experimentation and guided by an instinctive love of material and a fascination of form, but above all it is a process of evolution with the founders designing what they believe in and what they love rather than pander to market trends.