Welcome to the new Wrightson and Platt blog!
Each month we will be posting insights into the intriguing inner workings of W&P, and a take a peek into the heads of the inspirational creators of the company: Denise Wrightson and Vicky Platt. We will be revealing previously unknown secrets as to how your unique artworks are conceived and created, and the fascinating facts behind the materials and processes we use.
So, to start us off here is an update on the news so far in 2013.
As you may have already seen or heard, on the 24th of September last year we opened our stunning new showroom, right in the heart of London’s most exclusive quarter. Drawn by the exquisite level of quality and craftsmanship offered by businesses in the area, Vicky and Denise set out to claim their own spot in the renowned Walton Street.
Why Walton Street you ask? Well it’s an iconic location, marked as one of the borough’s conservation areas for it is steeped in history and architectural interest. The street seamlessly runs from residential to commercial, an unusual feature it has retained throughout its history, and explains its quaint village community atmosphere. Since its development back in the 1840’s, on the grounds of the exclusive Prince’s Cricket Club, the fascinating architectural features of stucco-fronted terrace houses and original timber framed shop-fronts have changed little; indeed neither have some of the independent commercial enterprises that call it home. It is this enduring tradition on the street that has inspired loyalty and a sense of family in the local businesses, qualities that Wrightson and Platt know so well, we just had to be a part of.
Once our perfect patch was secured, it was time to focus attention on the design of showroom itself and turn the dream into a reality. In true W&P style, the team wanted to collaborate with and celebrate great British craftsmanship, down to its most intimate detailing. It is with immeasurable thanks to the indefatigable enthusiasm of our design team, Camouflage, that the space was stripped back and a fresh, unique W&P stamp laid upon it.
If you are yet to encounter Wrightson and Platt, when you do you’ll instantly realize that we are anything but dull. From the Creative Director down to the newest member of the foundry, we all aim to push boundaries with our quirky inspirations. Therefore we had our work cut out for us in designing the showroom, as we set the bar to combine our eclectic, original Britishness, with an atmosphere of chic, domestic luxury. Long, intense weeks of colossal effort, material research, sourcing, and meticulous craftsmanship: the result, we think you’ll agree, is a perfectly polished design. Both elegant and individual, it carries a unique design language, which in turn echoes the service of characterful personalization as championed by the W&P brand.
To truly reflect our brand’s core aesthetic; fineness of detail and the luxurious nature of exclusive W&P pieces, Vicky and Denise wanted to ensure the space was light, open and elegant, down to its smallest element. Using a Gustavian white theme to create an atmosphere with a classic but contemporary tone, we sought out some of the UK’s finest designers to create the distinct display cabinets and intricate hand drawn wallpaper.
Indeed, one of the first details you notice upon entering the showroom is the furniture upon which the sculptures are so strikingly displayed. To achieve this, it was necessary for the design to visually balance the weight of the sculpture and compliment the complexity of each and every tiny detail. In sourcing the excellent cabinet-makers Noble Russell for their specialist skill, these elegant pieces of incomparable design really do showcase and celebrate our art.
The unique design of each handmade cabinet or feature table includes a characteristic ‘shifted wedge’. This not only stylistically updates the classic shapes used, but also adds extra levels upon which to display the sculptures individually, giving them the breathing space they deserve. In the cabinets, this subtle reveal inspires you to lean in for a well deserved closer look at the finer details. Extensive research too went into sourcing the perfect complimentary materials to build with. Using as inspiration the patinated bronze so prevalent in W&P sculpture, a rich Walnut wood was chosen, not forgetting of course the inclusion of our own personal touch of a bronze inlay.
In keeping with W&P’s values, each element of the showroom is a work of art in its own right, down to the very walls that frame the space. Celebrated illustrator Richard Phipps, renowned for his line work echoing a 19th century style, worked tirelessly on a 1:1 scale, hand drawing each wall drop individually to ensure a acute level of finite detail. Exploring the extraordinary Trompe l’oeil technique, he has accomplished a truly refreshing take on the classic Victorian paneling. Appearing as intricately engraved wooden panels that create a luxurious, domestic atmosphere, he continued the theme of celebrating Britishness with choice embellishment of emblematic kestrels, delicate roses, primroses, acorns and fresh peapods.
He even included an extra special showpiece: Lincoln, the head office’s prized whippet, sitting proudly in front of the fire!
An important feature to consider within the design was the showroom’s functionality as a sophisticated but comfortable client environment. Vicky & Denise really wanted to give you, our customers, the time and space to relax and discuss ideas for your bespoke sculptures. These pieces will be with you forever, so freedom to be creative is just as important as making the decision to have the casts done.
And what better way to make you comfortable than with tea and cake?! With this in mind, a specialist beverage station was designed to provide all we would need for the perfect Afternoon Tea. Beautiful, delicate crockery was sourced from Andrew Tanner; sleek silverware from Studio William; and of course state of the art coffee and tea makers were fitted into one smart cabinet. All of which can be discreetly sealed behind wallpaper clad, foldaway doors to continue the seamless feel of luxury. Then, for your utmost comfort, a stunning high-backed, winged, leather sofa was sourced from Dare Studio: an opulent feature we particularly enjoy ourselves.
The design aside, this is a space created as a platform to demonstrate what W&P can do for you. Everything has been designed to proudly demonstrate the innovations and technological feats we continually accomplish. Your life, your relationships, your newborn babies are all your own perfect works of art which deserve to be celebrated in the utmost exceptional style, and our showroom aspires to inspire. Not only will you get to hold a replica of the detailed individual casts and feel the grounding weight of the remarkable material in your hand, but also you’ll see the exciting new avenues W&P are exploring. From contemporary wall pieces and playful new designs, to the exquisite and delicate botanical jewellery collections, all have stories of their own waiting to be told.
No matter how we describe it to you nothing beats coming in and seeing the showroom for yourself. As tactile as your own babies’ feet or treasured as your grandfather’s craftsman hands are, the showroom is our new baby that we too are immensely proud to show off. Since our launch last year we’ve had such an overwhelmingly lovely response from all our visitors: clients old and new, press, friends, even the local residents and their dogs.
The future is extremely exciting for Wrightson and Platt, and with the opportunities presented by our showroom, we hope you’ll be there with us all the way. Come in, relax and let us help you find the perfect way to tell your stories through sculpture. When you’re here you’ll see the journey Vicky and Denise and all the team have taken to get to this point, a journey which brings together the finest English craftsmen, founders and silversmiths all with the same passion to create pieces of truly outstanding quality, unique to you. With us, your memories are in the best hands.
Special thanks to Emma Bristow at Emma Bristow Design, Alex Keane and Emma Gullick at Camouflage, Jerry Russell at Noble Russell, Richard and Paul at Aspen Concepts and every single member of their teams. Couldn’t have done it without you!
Last but not least, to our partner Gunnar Sachs for his faith, belief, patience and courage and of course, our own fantastic team.
Denise Wrightson & Vicky Platt