When David Linley, the Queen of England’s nephew, began making solid-wood furniture in the style of European classics in 1985, he might have been typecast as traditional. Well, look again. Linley’s shop on the fashionable Pimlico Road displays cube leather armchairs in bright red and tables and boxes in honey veneers alongside classic pieces of furniture with architectural detailing.
“My parents collected and commissioned modern art and furniture, as well as collecting antiques,” says Linley. “Their interest in mixing genres to create a truly individual look has greatly influenced me.”
His current preoccupation is with the forms and concepts found in 1930s and ’40s furniture. “One of the significant design movements over the twentieth century is the couture decorators of the French school,” says Linley. “I find Maxime Old particularly interesting because of the length of his career which spanned the best part of the century, during which time he showed stylistic diversity and adaptability to the spirit of the times without compromising the quality of what he produced.”
The Salon Collection, Linley’s latest ensemble, takes its cues from Old, who once was described as “addressing life’s familiar needs through a fresh prism.” Using time-honored and innovative craftsmanship techniques, Linley has created a series of tables, a cabinet and sofa that incorporate an unusual combination of materials (acrylic, mirror and wood) in a streamlined design that works well in both contemporary and traditional settings. From a distance the tables and display cabinet appear simple, but on close inspection one can see that the front paneling is backed by mirror and contains thin strips of acrylic inlaid into the walnut.
The play of light between the mirror and acrylic gives the furniture depth and a bit of sparkle. The mirrored frieze jazzes up ordinary pieces, such as a tuxedo sofa (below)—like when a woman wears a sparkling necklace with a simple black dress. “The balance and form delight the eye,” English interior designer Kelly Hoppen says of Linley's designs.