Hand-made from start to finish: crafting the Juliette bench.
You can tell the carving of the Juliette bench is special because it takes place in a particular room, away from the noise of the workshop and filled with lots of natural light. Oak pieces, cut and turned, are brought to our carver who takes a chisel in one hand and wooden block in the other, and begins to chip at the wood, carving out neoclassical motifs.
Designed to require as few nails as possible, joins are carved out of each individual piece, allowing them to be slotted together. In the assembly section of the workshop, our artisan applies glue to the joins and hammers the pieces into place. The frame is then set in a metal clamp until the glue is dry and the frame is sturdy.
Up and down the frame the finishing artisan moves his brush, covering the surface of the Juliette bench in a bright white paint. It’s the first step in a three-step process to create its weathered, antique effect. Once the white paint dries, a black paint is applied and then the entire bench is sanded back to the natural oak, the leftover paint now only visible in the grooves.
Xiao Xie, a seamstress, cuts the linen fabric used for the Juliette bench and passes it to one of her colleagues for stitching. They work in teams; one sewing the fabric; the other stitching the double piping that runs its perimeter.
Upholstering requires the largest variety of tools and materials, and we find ourselves stood in a room alive with activity. The artisans and their benches surrounded by strips of webbing, pieces of foam, interlining, craft knives and glue, each man at a different stage of the craft process.
With the upholstery applied, the Juliette is complete. Moving his way around the bench, examining the frame’s finish, peering at the stitching on the double piping, our artisan inspects the finished piece. “I love this part,” he says.
Take a closer look at our Juliette bench collection