Since 2008, commissions have come flying in from some of Britain's most iconic interiors experts and design heavyweights. They’ve even created a bespoke sofa for GQ Magazine’s stylish “bachelor pad”.
The Mauritian-born founders of Lacaze, Kay and Hanaa Chattun, were only 22- and 24-years-old when they started the company six years ago, and now lead a team of craftspeople based in a converted farm in Uxbridge, painstakingly creating beautiful and luxurious furniture designed to order.
This is a one-stop luxury shop for discerning buyers who know exactly what they want, from fine furniture to fit even the most awkward of London spaces, to fulfilling rather more creative, one-off requests. From electronic-rotating round beds, to dazzling Swarovski-crystal headboards and gold leaf sofas – there are no orders too elaborate for the stylish sisters taking on the bespoke design world...
Lacaze design and manufacture every item of furniture in-house, with a team of manufacturers and upholsterers trained in traditional and modern methods
Let's start at the beginning, how did you get into the furniture industry?
Kay: Our Dad was a wood- and metal-work teacher in Mauritius, but this wasn't on the curriculum at our all-girls school. He's incredibly gifted and made all the furniture for our home, and we loved helping him. When we eventually came to the UK to study IT and accounting, an interior design friend of ours kept saying how difficult it was to find high-quality bespoke furniture in London and we knew we could fill a gap in the market.
So, how do you start a business that takes on bespoke luxury?
Hanaa: At first we created the designs and worked with manufacturers to build the products, but too often we ordered a wooden leg in dark chocolate only for it to turn up in oak, and once someone made us a reclining chair that only reclined by five centimetres!
Kay: We realised we needed to control over the manufacturing process, so we set up a factory on a converted farm in Uxbridge. All our craftsmen are trained in traditional and modern methods, based on our belief that if you can work with hand-tied coil springs and horse hair, you can work with anything.
How have you built up your business to a point where you now have a shop on the King's Road?
Hanaa: By never compromising on quality with any aspect of the business and controlling every aspect of the business ourselves. I do all the accounting and Kay looks after the production side of things. We both design. So far all of our client's have sought us out, via word of mouth.
What do you consider to be ‘luxury’?
Hanaa: I don't think of luxury in monetary terms, for me it's something that’s unique and not available to everyone else.
What is the most outlandish request you’ve had from a client?
Kay: We created an electronically-rotating round bed with a round duvet for one client. We’ve also made a Swarovski-crystal headboard, and put gold leafing on sofas.
What's popular right now?
Kay: We’re working a lot with metal. It’s increasingly popular and we’re experimenting with different finishes, such as combining brass with concrete or metal finishes on upholstered furniture.
Talk me through the design process...
Hanaa: We normally work backwards from a finished design – and work out how to construct what a client wants. One client requested a bedside table with Perspex legs, but Perspex doesn’t bond with wood or metal so we’re building the table around the legs.
So, what’s your personal style?
Kay: I like opulent and sleek. I can see myself having the gold infused wall panelling in the showroom as a feature in my home.
Hanaa: I’m much more simple. I stick to organic linens and three colours – black, grey and white. I don’t have a headboard yet and I'm going to make it myself – that feeling of actually crafting something yourself is unlike anything else.
Who are your favourite designers?
Kay: IPE Cavalli and Armani Casa, for their sumptuousness. Their furniture is elegant and sleek at the same time.
Hanaa: Right now I’ve got a thing for Fendi’s logoed cushions and crystal encrusted beds, which is unusual for me.
Who inspires you?
Kay: I really like Brabbu and Koket. Also, classic designers - Hans Wegner, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry...
Hanaa: I’m always checking out our competition to make sure we’re ahead of the game. Kay keeps reminding me that they’ve been around for about 90 years, so we can’t compete – but that’s our vision, to become a household name in quality and luxury.