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Silverlining, Customer Spotlight #9

Silverlining, Customer Spotlight #9
29/05/2015

Every Silverlining creation is carefully designed and made to reflect the true art of furniture. A piece of furniture which is not only used in a practical and functional sense but to be admired as a piece of art by all those who use and see it. Run by Mark Boddington, (yes, the heir to Boddington Brewery) their bespoke designs are found amongst private residences, corporate headquarters, museums, galleries and yachts, from all around the globe. Their work has been recognised internationally and they are the only UK furniture maker to win three Guild marks and the Annual Award for Excellence in Design and Craftsmanship, all in the same year. With a strong and talented workforce, combined with cutting edge technology, Silverlining have been able to produce a collection of highly intricate work using a variety of materials.

What are the most unusual materials which you work with? We like to use the unusual, like Damascus steel (decorative laminated steel - an ancient Japanese technique found on samurai sword handles), 3000 plus English Oak dug from the Norfolk Fens or 229 year old Russian reindeer hide salvaged from the Metta Catharina that sank in 1776 off Cornwall.

Where does your inspiration come from to form your collector pieces? Our inspiration comes firstly from studying nature seen from satellite, the naked eye and under the microscope. Secondly we are always trying to make structures that seem impossible possible - modern materials, knowledge and techniques from other industries allow the limits of furniture making to be pushed - we are continually experimenting to innovate.

How long can one project take for a bespoke piece of work? Anything from 12 weeks, up to two years - a recent heavily carved desk took over 2950 hours to make. A 13 meter table we are about to start will take over seven months.

What is hardest material to work with and how have you overcome the challenges of working with that material? We are always looking for new materials to push boundaries - carbon fibre, ceramic, nomex (super light fire proof composite) - each has its challenges. In terms of woods, probably the hardest wood to work with has literally been the most dense wood we have worked with, called snake wood (so called because of its patterning), it was so dense we had to rivet it together as no glue could bond it!

How do you accommodate for the individual styles of your customers? Every project aesthetic gives a different challenge and use of material, technique and finish. The style dictates whether we use solid woods or veneers and the construction and finishing method.

You predominately buy leather, rivets and thread from Abbey. How do you incorporate these materials into your designs? We use your wonderful leathers to create a contrast to polished wood surfaces - often hand decorating with embossing or carving or constructing using stitching. We also laminate the leather and carve through the thickness to create wonderful sculptural effects. We use rivets predominately to make bespoke portfolio for presentations to give to clients.

What material is the most versatile to work with? Wood is a versatile and amazing sustainable material - it floats, is structurally very strong, can be bent, laminated, carved, glued etc- we use it in everyday life. From birth as a cradle, as firewood to keep us warm, as a building material, as paper, as furniture and when we leave this earth as a coffin.

What does the Silverlining brand represent and how have you developed it over the last ten years? The brand is about creating museum quality furniture using the finest skills of today, thereby leaving a legacy for future generations to admire.

Can you tell us about your biggest project to date? Our biggest project will be our next - every time we learn about a new project we are blown away about the vision.

Are there any furniture designers you wish to collaborate with? We are often inspired by other furniture designers and sculptors, obviously John Makepeace who I trained with, Marc Newson, Ross Lovegrove and Thomas Hetherwick.

How important are apprenticeship schemes for the future development of Silverlining? The future skills are the lifeblood of the company - I was lucky to learn from a master craftsman. I see Silverlining as an umbrella where creative people can learn and grow and go on to achieve amazing things. Apprenticeships are the only way that individuals can learn - by making mistakes at the bench and reinforcing skills through relation and practice.

For more information on  Silverlining, Customer Spotlight #9  talk to  Abbey England Ltd

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