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    Fabric

    IN THE FACTORY with Knightsbridge Furniture

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    IN THE FACTORY with Knightsbridge Furniture

    To stitch together how Knightsbridge makes its contract furniture, editor Hamish Kilburn travels up to Bradford in West Yorkshire to step inside the modern factory that chooses to do things the traditional way…

    Priding itself on being 100 per cent British-made is something that has become somewhat of a unique selling point for contract furniture company Knightsbridge.

    Giving ‘in-house’ a whole new meaning, every item that has a Knightsbridge logo on it was conceptualised, sketched, prototyped and produced in the hearty West Yorkshire town of Bradford – and has been for 80 years.

    In an average week, around 700 items of furniture are made in the Victorian factory – and all pieces start as nothing more than a stacked load of timber or Birch plywood, which is imported from Russia and Europe. While many factories internationally have chosen to use automated machinery to carve their frames, Knightsbridge is among the minority that still, to this day, cuts its materials by the hands of skilled workers. “Many of our employees come through the apprenticeship scheme, which is something we are very proud of,” said Craig Weston, Operations Manager at Knightsbridge. “Because everything at Knightsbridge is handmade and hand-cut, the role in the factory therefore requires a very specific set of skills, which isn’t easy to teach just anyone.”

    Stack of timber

    Image credit: Knightsbridge Furniture

    As we walk from process to process, I notice that an arm of a chair starting to take form. “This is one of the most difficult pieces we make,” says Weston who points to the worker on the cutter who is meticulously carving out detailed incisions. “As a strategy, we ensure that we always have a higher stock of the items that are more complex to produce.” With high demand for Knightsbridge products and limited facilities, this is a resourceful method that reduces the possibility of delays in the manufacturing process.

    Contract chair in the process of being upholstered

    Image credit: Knightsbridge Furniture

    Once each frame is cut, sanded, assembled, tinted, polished and dried, it is then ready for the upholstery process. On average, it takes the team at Knightsbridge approximately one hour to upholster a typical sofa. As the demand in hotel interior design renovations increases, the company also offers a reupholstery service whereby it will reupholster any piece of furniture (even if it’s not a Knightsbridge product). The cluster of seamstresses working is impressive and the decision to keep a cap on fabric stock is reassuring. “To reduce waste and save space, we only stock as much material as we need in this area,” Weston explains. “What’s more, although we have colour and fabric options, we will match any colour the client wants.”

    Seamstress working

    Image credit: Knightsbridge Furniture

    Elsewhere in the factory, away from the main production line, is the design and development team. Led by Director Jason Brown, who lives and breathes by the ethos that you can’t turn down the volume on creativity, the soul of the factory is my home-from-from during my visit. “I have every furniture designers’ dream job, right?” laughs Brown. “It’s such a privilege being able to have all the tools, kit and skills to be able to prototype products in-house.” Brown is a man after my own heart who seems to wear many hats in his role. “The most obvious element to my role is that I sketch and design the future collections,” he explains. “But what most people perhaps don’t know is that my team, which is magic by the way, also have to provide the factory workers with all the technical drawings when we start producing a new product. As you can imagine, there is no margin for error in this department. We are always looking for new ways to be innovative, while being mindful of time, quality and cost for the overall business.” For Brown, like all great designers, thinking creatively and thinking commercially are difficult plates to spin at the same time. “It’s a challenge, but that’s why I love it,” he adds.

    Despite Knightsbridge having the ultimate in-house design dream team, led by a visionary who clearly leads within the pack, the company is also proud to work with outside influences when designing future products. The latest collaborations to come out the factory include the likes of John Coleman, Sean Dare, Jim Hamilton and David Fox.

    Knightsbridge is a modern company like no other. Proud of its heritage and confident to push boundaries, it seems as if this British-born company has all the materials, workforce and ideas – all stored under one roof – to lead the contract furniture market into another 80 successful years of business.

    SPOTLIGHT ON: Fabric interior design trends

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    SPOTLIGHT ON: Fabric interior design trends

    As part of Hotel Designs’ month of putting interior design in the spotlight, Mitre Linen breaks down some of the emerging trends in fabric design… 

    Sustainability, classic neutral tones and tactile fabrics are key themes in interior design this year. The hospitality industry continues to adopt an environmentally friendly approach to all aspects of business operations. Warm and understated palettes complete this trend, projecting a calming and relaxing atmosphere for guests, which can be augmented with a luxurious touch of velvet.

    Sustainability

    Recent research from Mitre Linen reveals that 75 per cent* of hoteliers believe that environmental initiatives are now expected by guests and the desire to be more ethical in source has reached furnishings, with sustainable fabrics increasing in demand.  The new Mitre Eco range was developed in response to exactly this business need. The soft 100% per cent organic cotton bed linen has a 200 thread count, while the duvets and pillows are filled with hollowfibre created from 100 per cent recycled plastic, redirecting plastics from landfills and oceans. Mitre Linen’s Eco duvets and pillows also complies with OEKO-TEX 100, certifying the range’s skin-friendly properties.

    Warm Neutrals

    The return to a classic neutral palette is a subtle shift from the dominance of cooler grey tones that have pervaded colour schemes in recent years.  Creating a warmer ambiance within a hotel, these colours offer a timeless and stylish touch.  Mitre Linen recently launched two new soft furnishing ranges: Deco and Tundra, to allow a larger choice of colourways for hoteliers wanting to update their rooms.

    Velvet Touch

    Texture has a striking impact in a room and there is no other fabric quite like velvet to impart an opulent feel. A velvet cushion or bed runner will immediately convey luxury and indulgence.  The rich colours of the Mitre D’Arcy range of velvet cushions complement this material perfectly and work well to add a touch of luxe to natural colourways.

    *Mitre connects research with 142 hoteliers conducted in March 2019

    Mitre Linen is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

    Main image credit: Mitre Linen

    The new neutrals: six new sophisticated designs in neutrals, greys and metallics from Skopos Fabrics

    560 485 Adam Bloodworth

    Custom furnishings provider Skopos Fabrics have unveiled a sophisticated new range of fabrics that show off the trending ‘new neutrals’.

    Greys and metallics lead the way in forming an array of patterns on their new custom furnishings, available for the hotel industry from the celebrated company, who have provided furnishings for the industry for over forty years.

    They say: “Our reputation for stylish design, durability and technical excellence have established Skopos an enviable client base in the specialist hotel and leisure, cruise and health/elderly care sectors”.

    The latest wide-width luxury designs from Skopos feature geometric patterns across six new contemporary designs. Influenced by the ancient Japanese art of Origami, the surprising, angular patterns feature on silk and satin.

    Diamond, wave and holographic hexagon designs appear on the fabrics, which boast a “raised, three-dimensional quality” and are available in either matt or silk finishes.

    The designs are for bedding or drapery solutions “where style meets functionality”.

     

    The range differs greatly from the botanical range Skopos released last autumn, which featured heavier detailing and bolder colour. Supporting the trend for bringing the outside in, the exquisite botanical print from Skopos was an exploration of woodland plants and flowers.

    Flores Silvestri was an elegant hand-drawn collection, brought to life on a new linen-look base cloth. Echoing traditional recording methods, the collection flourished with fine detailed outlines, flower-pressed silhouettes and a combination of rich colour and line illustration.

    With a choice of 7 new designs and 10 base cloths, including a stain resist upholstery, this collection suits independent hotels, care and leisure projects. Designs included a woodland mix, large scale floral, flower press design, textured check and a fern, in a sophisticated colour palette.

    View the entire range at Skoposfabrics.com

    Essente Willow

    Decorex 2017: A fresh approach for Kobe’s Essente brand

    600 424 Daniel Fountain

    Luxury fabric specialist, Kobe, has introduced a contemporary, new-look to its Essente collection of stylish curtain and upholstery fabrics – and displayed it at this year’s Decorex.

    The collection includes curtains, voiles and sheers, dim outs and upholstery fabrics, suitable for both domestic and commercial installations.

    It takes the range in a fresh new direction with more colour and pattern, offering a host of exciting, of-the-moment looks for interior dressing including the much in-vogue ikat geometrics.

    David Harris, MD of Kobe UK said: “The new-look Essente range has a much more contemporary feel with the focus on a vibrant colour palette and more pattern. We still offer the same selection of neutral tones but have added more choice to reflect all interior tastes.”

    The collection follows on from the success of previous Essente ranges which offer a wide selection of chic, and easy-care interior fabrics. As a sister brand, Essente also benefits from the logistical excellence of Kobe and its sophisticated automated warehouse and ERP system, while giving access to a wider customer base through realistic price points. Retail prices start at £16 for curtain weights and £27 for upholstery fabrics.

    Essente also features a range of durable upholstery fabrics that are easy to wash and score highly on the Martindale rub test. The collections are available direct from stock or FR treated to order with a domestic back coat which complies with the BS 5852 ignition source 0 and 1, passing the cigarette match test.

    www.en.kobe.eu

    T: 01344 771653
    F: 01344 771663
    E: salesuk@kobe.eu

    Tahoe velvet added to Skopos Accents

    Product Spotlight: Skopos adds Tahoe velvet to its Accents portfolio

    1000 595 Daniel Fountain

    This Spring sees a new velvet welcomed into the Skopos Accents portfolio. Tahoe, a deep-pile upholstery velvet has the added interest of a delicate strié and an elegant distressed crush.

    Offered to the contract market in 15 colours, the palette ranges from pearl neutrals through to deep exotic tones. The effects within the fabric provide texture and dimension, creating a dramatic statement for contract interiors.

    Tahoe velvet added to Skopos Accents
    Tahoe comes with Crib 5 FR backing as standard, meets IMO requirements and achieves over 100,000 martindale rubs, providing a durable as well as stylish solution. Tahoe presents fantastic opportunities for the contract hotel, cruise and leisure sectors and demonstrates versatility for use across Europe, Middle East and America, complying with contract FR and technical requirements.

    Tahoe velvet added to Skopos Accents
    Skopos
    launch new fabric collections each year across drapery, bedding and upholstery qualities, reflecting trends in the marketplace. Skopos is an ISO9001 accredited company and has approximately 40 year’s specialist experience in the design and manufacture of high performance FR contract fabrics for the hospitality sector.

    To view the Tahoe collection and the full range of Skopos products please visit their website at www.skoposfabrics.com or speak to their sales team on 01924 436666. Free samples of the collection are available immediately and shade cards are available from Account Managers.