For most people decorating their homes, “custom” only goes as far as choosing the fabric on a new sofa; working with an artist to create truly bespoke pieces seems reserved for a rarefied stratosphere of interior decorators and their clients. Thankfully Gwen Carlton, herself a bespoke lighting designer for more than 10 years, is demystifying and democratizing the process with her new website, Bespoke Global.
“There are so many amazing people doing amazing work. They shouldn’t be hard to find. The custom process is not complicated,” she says. Bespoke Global, which launched earlier this year at ICFF, brings together 20 top designers like Michael Coffey and Richard Wrightman and prospective clients through a decidedly un-complicated order process. First, the customer contacts Bespoke Global to request an estimate, Bespoke Global then contacts the artists, compiles sketches and samples and submits them to the client. Once approved, clients receive regular status updates until the completed project is white-glove-delivered.
If you’re more of an off-the-rack buyer, never fear. Bespoke Global also has a well-edited selection of exclusives and one-offs that run the gamut from cut leather screens and bone waste paper baskets to mahogany desk suites and art gallery-worthy chandeliers (Warren Muller’s $250,000 Minimasterpiece is made from a Mini Cooper station wagon, among other objets). But, of course, these artists are also available for custom creations if their existing pieces inspire you. “These artists, this is what they love to do. They prefer custom work. It’s more interesting,” says Carlton. “And once you get involved in the design process as a client, it’s not just about the artist’s creativity, it’s about yours as well.”
Sound expensive? Well, the sky is definitely the limit at Bespoke Global, but Carlton’s accessible mantra applies to prices as well. “That’s another misconception,” she says. “People think to do this is somehow out of grasp for mere mortals and it really isn’t.” Some candleholders and glassware start in the very modest $100 range, though works like Michael Coffey’s beguiling tête-à-tête game table are priced at $140,000, and custom adaptations can surely climb much higher. And for those more “significant” commissions, Carlton is planning to offer clients a way to become even more involved with their custom creation: a personalized video of the piece being made will accompany the order. How’s that for provenance?