There is a small number of notable firms in the UK making quality upholstered furniture for hotels and restaurants – one such company is Lyndon Design, part of the Boss Design Group, whose cultured, contemporary yet classic designs are garnering increasing favour with the demanding hospitality market. John Legg travelled to Cheltenham to judge for himself.
Lyndon Design is a leading British manufacturer of handcrafted upholstery and furniture for commercial interiors. This year marks 30 years of business for the Cheltenham firm, and, with the investment and vigour of its new parent company, Boss Design Group, the flames of ambition are burning brighter than ever.
In many ways the lynchpin of the new Lyndon Design operation is the experienced, steely and calm sales director, Tim Armitt. He explains the company’s immediate agenda: “In addition to an extensive product development strategy and expansion into new sectors, we have a number of exciting strategic initiatives that we intend to roll out over the next 12 months, all of which will serve to reinforce Lyndon’s standing as a pioneer in the design and manufacture of handcrafted upholstered furniture both in the UK and overseas.”
While the consumer sector has largely been seduced by low-cost producers with a simple, generic appeal, the hospitality interiors industry has higher demands and requires an altogether different approach. Modern hospitality design requires that furniture deployed in the ever-more impressive and interactive lobby spaces – with break-out zones, relaxing areas and working spaces – is of a refined and premium standard. Here, there is no room for the hackneyed and adequate. The brands, operators and owners want these spaces to be dramatic, elegant and distinguished. Even the large commercial operators now desire a professional artisanal approach, with furniture that adds to the identity and sense of place which they know their design-savvy clientele appreciate.
Lyndon Design is a business which perfectly suits that brief, and it feels very much at home doing what the business has always been good at – but now in a more structured manner with the parent business.
The company’s current crop of products is aimed squarely at architects, hospitality and interior designers and specifiers, who readily appreciate the deftness of the clean lines, the first-class craftsmanship, the raw material traceability – and of course, the potential to create a bespoke solution. In short, Lyndon Design is a pedigree designer-manufacturer of the old school but with an outlook that is well organised, and focused on the needs of today’s market.
A visit to Lyndon Design’s premises presents a classic case of having to not judge a book by its cover. The business is located on a simple triangular plot behind a garage off a residential road in Cheltenham. The 1970s office-like exterior belies a well-organised 20,000ft² factory with a clear, business-like approach to the manufacturing process.
The materials arrive through a high-bay roller door, behind which timber and raw materials are racked to one side, a well-equipped and efficient woodworking shop taking up the main space to one side of the building. Principally, this area is responsible for the company’s all-important frame-making and table production. With the use of hand tools, classic machinery and state-of-the-art CNC machinery, this is where Lyndon creates the feel of hand-work, with the accuracy and repeatability only a computer-numerically-controlled machine can offer. Next door is where the frames are built up ready to upholster – or, if for show-wood furniture, for spraying, finishing and polishing.
Lyndon Design’s product range requires this type of intensive callability to produce its often ambitious designs. Although it may look simple enough, the finesse to achieve the desired look is actually quite complex – the joints, the tight radii, the invisible structure and the overall workmanship is first class – and it is also absolutely necessary to enable it to create the bespoke products for which Lyndon has earned a well-deserved and enviable reputation.
About Lyndon Design
Established in 1982 and based in Cheltenham, Lyndon Design was acquired by The Boss Design Group in 2010. The two companies were previously well known to each other with both managing directors – Brian Murray of Boss Design and Richard Pugh of Lyndon Design – having worked together on ventures almost 30 years ago, including the set up of Lyndon Design in 1982 before Brian went on to establish Boss Design in 1983. The Boss Design Group also owns Komac, another dominant brand in the office seating sector.