22 Jan MORE THAN JUST A CHAIR…
From day one we have always struggled to categorize our work. Furniture or art? Does it belong in a gallery or a shop? We think the answer lies somewhere in-between, which proves difficult when finding places to display our work. Back in 2015, after identifying the capitals fine art galleries as the perfect outlets to showcase our work, we did our research, put our walking shoes on and headed to London. Armed with enthusiasm, passion for what we do, utter fear and some pictures of our work in hand, we trawled the red brick cladded streets of Mayfair.
We went our own separate ways and agreed to meet back at a local coffee shop at the end of the day to compare notes. Having visited and introduced ourselves to just about every gallery in the west of London, greeted with everything from surprise to contempt we had rejection after rejection, feeling like we had come to a bit of a dead end, we scribbled down some notes, put our tail between our legs and headed home.
During the following weeks, when we had time to down tools, we followed up our visits with phone calls and emails, when nothing came of our efforts we felt dejected and frustrated, but we put the bit between our teeth, dug in and kept trying, we knew we only needed one gallery owner to take the slightest bit of interest and then came the breakthrough. A series of fortunate events led to our work landing in the inbox of Nigel Mead, owner at Mead Carney gallery of fine art in Dover Street.
“I love your work, its beautiful, fun and relevant, can you come to the gallery at 6pm tomorrow” – Nigel Mead, owner of Mead Carney gallery of fine art in Dover street, London.
Those words came over the phone a few weeks later. Needless to say, we were there at 6pm, ecstatic, nervous and incredibly excited. Little did he know how much his call meant to us. We dared to put ourselves out there, knocked on every door we could with a real passion and belief in what we do and those efforts bore fruit.
“I don’t want to display just one of your pieces, I want to give you the entire gallery, for a month, starting on the opening night of London design week, but….there is one condition, the sketches of the chair you showed me, has to be there.”
At that point in time, the 737 cowling chair was nothing more than a few drawings and some pretty computer renders, we couldn’t really afford to build it, but at the same time, there was no way we couldn’t afford to develop it given the opportunity we had been presented with. Knowing that if the show wasn’t successful, it could have broken us, we decided to take the risk and jumped head headfirst into building it, no looking back now.
After months of development and a few grey hairs appearing, we delivered the first version of the chair to the gallery, just in time for the beginning of London design week. We had an opening night where we joined by our closest friends and family, let our hair down and then back to the workshop the following day, full of pride and excitement for the coming 4 weeks.
For reasons unbeknown to us today, the show wasn’t successful, far from it. We didn’t sell anywhere near enough to cover the cost of getting to the exhibition. Dejected, disappointed and not really knowing what the near future holds, we did the only thing we could and put our heads down and carried on working. The following months were hard, we struggled to pay suppliers, let alone ourselves, but had in our hands the most remarkable of creations, months of building something that took us way out of our comfort zone, we were still immensely proud of what we had achieved in making the chair.
6 months later, Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo decided to write an article about the chair entitled; “Sitting in a 737 Jet Engine Chair Turns Anyone Into a Supervillain” my phone nearly blew up, the chair went viral online and that one article propelled our business to the next level, we gained huge amounts of exposure that translated into orders, and we have never looked back since. Thank you Andrew, that article meant the world to two brothers across the pond.
Every time we finish a chair for a client, we cannot help but feel like that one piece of furniture is the embodiment of everything we believe in; put yourself out there, be brave, be creative, dare to believe in yourself and be relentless in your pursuits. Embrace rejection and failure, there will be plenty of it, learn, but keep going, because you don’t need the whole world to believe in what you do, just one gallery owner from London called Nigel.