Hand-crafted from start to finish – crafting the Lille armchair.

Surrounded by towers of mango wood planks Sohan, a carpenter in the wood workshop, hand-selects the best pieces destined for the Lille armchair. Studying them, he visualises how many of the armchair’s parts can be cut out without wasting any of the wood. Once satisfied, he takes his collection of stencils and begins to trace. The arms appear first and then the legs follow, before every piece of the Lille’s frame begins to take shape. 

 

Armchair, French style

It’s the role of the carver to transform these parts from basic shapes into detailed pieces. With a trained eye, he picks a chisel from the collection that lays bedside him and works intricate detail and motifs into the wood, exchanging one tool for another whenever a finer line or rounder edge is called for in the design.

 

Armchair, French style

 Kaluramji applies the frame’s finishing touches. He stains the wood and then coats it with a water-based primer that gives it a lime-washed look before he seals it, giving it a barrier of protection. The result is rustic with a thoroughly French-country look.

 

Armchair, French style

 Now it’s the turn of the upholstery, in this case, our much-loved Duck Egg Blue. Fresh white cotton, draped over bamboo poles is dipped in and out of the freshly prepared dye. Two artisans standing either side, lifting, turning, and dipping the yarn, rhythmically, ensuring the colour is evenly distributed. Dyeing the yarn, rather than the finished fabric, ensures a better quality of colour they tell us as they carry dry bundles to the workshop where it will be intricately basket-woven.

 

Armchair, French style

Weaving complete and set aside, the stitching begins. In the upholstery workshop, the radio plays and a chorus of artisans work on their individual Lille. Hessian webbing, a polyfibre sheet, and cotton interlining are all handled with great care, before they drape over the finished basket-weave fabric.

 

Armchair, French style

Placing a cushion on his finished Lille, one artisan stands back, grinning at us with pride. “Hand-crafted,” he says in heavily accented English. “From end-to-end.”

Take a closer look at our Lille Collection

 

Avatar
Sarah
Previous post
16 Feb, 2015 · 3 min read
What’s it like to work together every day?
18 Feb, 2015 · 3 min read
Under the spotlight: From raw cotton to finished fabric.