Monday, January 30, 2012

ICONIC DESIGN CONNOISSEUR: CHRISTOPHER GUY

Design that exudes class and craft, occupies one’s mind through eternity. Christopher Guy has carved an illustrious name for himself, pursuing his unique design concept that transcends modernity and traditional limitations to achieve a style that is cosmopolitan and timeless. Born in Britain, brought up in Spain and France Christopher Guy Harrison is currently based in Singapore. His multi- national background emanates the quintessential stroke in his creations, a blend of exoticism and contemporaneity.

Recently, after collaboration with a local entrepreneur, Christopher Guy unveiled a 9,500 sq. ft. showroom in Chicago. The World Market Center Las Vegas and Las Vegas Design Center Winter Market, 2011 have also chosen him for the “Design Icon” honor. Besides, he also holds the Outstanding Design Award to his credit, rendered by the British Interior Design Association in 2004.

Guy set out in his endeavor with his objective to make uniquely beautiful decorative furnishings that appeal to an international audience. He started his career in 1993 making mirrors, sold under the label Harrison and Gil until his brand Christopher Guy was formed. In 1999, he built a one million sq. ft. workshop, in Java that accommodates 1,400 carvers, woodcarvers and other specialists. These artisans put the products through the finishing phase to bring out a magnificent outlay, an aesthetic blend of European and Asian craftsmanship.

After years of evolution and expansion, in 2006 the brand Christopher Guy came into existence. The company then started offering its original mirror line and the latest furnishings ranges under the one umbrella. This step ushered in a new era in the history of the company. Another major event in his career graph came in 2009 with the opening of 2,400 sq. ft. USA Flagship Design Lounge in Beverly Hills.

Christopher Guy designs are adorned among favorites in the industry. His design pieces feature in the many renowned hospitality outlets. The Savoy, London; the Grosvenor House Hotels, London; St. Clemente Palace, Venice; the Trump Plaza, New York; the Savoy, London; the Beverly Wilshire, California; the Ritz-Carlton Properties; the Bellegio, the Venetian and Encore in Las Vegas are among his celebrated clients in the hotel industry. Four Seasons, Marriot and Hyatt are also featured in the list. Guy’s collections have been spotted in a number of Hollywood movies as well.

Christopher Guy gratifies his clientele base with his creations that surpasses cultural boundaries and bears elegance, sophistication and grace as its fore elements.  One significant feature of his furniture is the Chris –X leg design which traits the legs of the piece in X shape.  The X leg design is patented across the USA, China and Europe. The Neo-classical qualities of clarity,  finesse and  reserve  with  opulent expressions  of  a  century  and  a  half  of French  cabinet making define the essentials in a Christopher Guy silhouette. The symmetry of the Baroque style, the balance and masterful sense of calculation of the Rococo and the measured coolness of Greek and Roman design are ever-present in the creations, endowing a unique league.

Christopher Guy has been driven by his uncompromising sense of style to achieve this podium. Following his motto of “A Contemporary Mood with Classic Values”, he has re-defined the aesthetics of design pioneering new concepts that is unequivocal to traditional and modern environments. The meticulous design, exquisite detailing and authentic craftsmanship reflect the contrast of diverse influences.  In his reckoning, creation of something new is an instinctive urge.

In the following conversation, the designer reveals his journey, design ideas, inspiration and more:

FAW: Congratulations on being honored as the “Design Icon” by the World Market Center, Las Vegas. How would you describe your journey till date?

CG:I would describe my journey as one of being a hiker. A hiker, more or less, knows the direction he wants to go but he is often astonished to find a journey within itself. As the journey goes along, economic fluctuations have an impact on where the destination is and how to get there. In 1993, manufacturing was concentrated in the US. Since then, it has completely changed and moved to Asia. I am lucky to have tapped into the Asia network and found mastery craftsmen at the beginning of the brand. This has played an important part in my designs and production of my furnishing.

 

FAW: Your colossal workshop complex is located in Java. What made you zero in on Java?

CG:The Christopher Guy design features mastery carving on solid Mahogany. Java has some of the world finest carvers and the availability of the hard wood was key in setting up there.  

 

FAW: Where do you get your design ideas from? What inspires you?

CG:My inspirations have always come from my travels; I believe that internationalization transcends tradition. It is with an understanding and integration of cultures that form the basis of my designs. There is no particular country’s tradition that I adopt in my designs as I believe that the understanding of elegance is international and recognizable instantly.

 

FAW: How difficult or simple it is for you to keep up with such a renowned name that has stores almost everywhere in the globe?

CG:Designing for a global brand starts from manufacturing to distribution to marketing to store concept. It is only with the harmonious control of all these elements, an evolution of product design to reaching the end consumer that will make a global brand truly successful.

 

FAW: Who are your favorite designers among peers?

CG:20th Century designers like Jacques Ruhlman and Japanese designers from SuperPotato for their inventive use of materials and form.

 

FAW: Any young or aspiring designer whom you consider has a bright prospect in the industry?

CG:My interns, by teaching them the ropes from A to Z of designing to manufacturing to marketing, they learn what it takes to bring a product to market. It is not just about designing a product but learning the means to take a product to market, is not something one can do overnight.

 

FAW: What can the design world expect from your next collection?

CG:Reflecting the elegant yet contemporary Christopher Guy style, the new collection will be approximately 200 pieces. Using a timeless icon as a muse, this full lifestyle collection will have a defining theme, presenting my interpretation of her style with a contemporary Christopher Guy twist. More information on this collection will be available closer in time

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