British furniture designer Clive Christian is widely considered the pioneer of the statement kitchen. More than five decades since its inception, a new owner is reinvigorating the brand with the launch of exciting new collections.
Clive Christian Furniture has been creating intricate cabinetry and architecturally inspired kitchens since it was founded by the namesake designer in the late 1970s. The British brand is widely regarded as the pioneer of the statement kitchen, an interiors trend that has only strengthened in recent years with the pressures applied by pandemic restrictions seeing us spending more time in our homes.
The grandeur associated with a Clive Christian kitchen saw the brand become a desirable choice for discerning clients around the world seeking kitchens that were bespoke and of the highest quality while remaining functional. Its success with kitchens saw the range expand to incorporate cabinetry for bedrooms and bathrooms, along with complementary furniture.
This year, the brand has released its first new interior collection in a decade. The New Classical Collection stays true to the architectural heritage and luxurious hallmarks of Clive Christian, while contemporising the design to fit a more modern lifestyle. The first iteration in the New Classical is the OPUS No.1 series, a versatile design that will enable the client to easily change the façade, finishes and colours of their kitchen.
OPUS No. 1 is the concept of newly appointed global design director, Oli Deadman, whose ambition is to continuously push the boundaries of design by introducing new textures, materials, techniques, timber, and finishes in a manner that is still distinctly Clive Christian.
Deadman created a finish especially for the launch that fittingly draws from the celebratory nature of champagne. Cabinet doors, made from European ash timber, are carefully decorated with hand-finished ‘bubbles’ in varying sizes, a playful nod to champagne’s effervescence. A thoughtfully designed OPUS champagne cabinet was specially made for housing champagne bottles and glassware.
Other elements of OPUS No.1 speak to the attention to detail that Clive Christian has become regarded for – from inbuilt device charging stations within drawers and cabinets to leather-lined drawers that safe keep watches and jewellery while cooking, and discreet, seamless storage compartments for knives and crockery, chopping blocks and trays.
‘It was essential that we remain true to the material heritage and craft nature of Clive Christian whilst devising a contemporary lifestyle kitchen,’ says Deadman. ‘The objective was to create a simplified design with integrity but one richer in character, detail, and materiality. OPUS No.1 features accentuated contrasting materials and finishes across three dimensions – colour, light and texture – delivering an impactful, contemporary iteration of a Clive Christian Furniture room.’
The launch of the New Classical Collection forms part of a brand revival that is being driven by a change in ownership. New owner and chairman, David Dare, has had a career immersed in product design, engineering, and business management. Formerly the managing director of fireclay sink manufacturer, Shaws of Darwen, and the tap manufacturer, Perrin & Rowe, Dare took the helm at Clive Christian in 2019 with a view to revitalise its image.
In addition to appointing Deadman as global design director, Dare has formed strategic partnerships to expand the brand’s resonance with high-net-worth markets. A lockdown-instigated collaboration with London’s oldest bookshop, Hatchards, saw a curated home library service with bookshelves designed by Clive Christian; and the company has also built a 3,000-square-foot lounge with the luxury lifestyle supplier, Glancy Fawcett, in its Manchester showroom.
From the company headquarters in England’s Lancashire, Dare has started an apprenticeship programme to encourage locals to join the more than 40-strong workshop team, working in product finishing, veneering, assembly and to train in machining.
‘Clive Christian Furniture is proud of its Lancashire heritage and this in fact informs a huge part of our global positioning and reputation. It’s important that we continue to nurture an interest and love of traditional skills and crafts, and that via technology and challenging new design concepts we give modern meaning to this sector,’ says Dare.
It’s evident that while ensuring the legacy associated with Clive Christian remains at the forefront of its customer offering, Dare is leading the business forward, backed by a passionate team and a dedication to advance the craft that sets the brand apart.