Each has his or her own studio or workshop producing other designs. What The Study offers them, courtesy of Christopher Nevile (the designer and decorator behind the venture), is a chance to have some of their designs batch-produced and sold professionally. They are then relieved of the expense and difficulty of packing and wrapping, promoting and selling, delivery and billing.
The Study also offers them an international market, bringing their work to the attention of professional buyers who have already expressed an interest in the collection for hotels, clubs, offices and restaurants. The Study ensures the wiring of even the wildest-looking lamp meets all the latest international safety standards.
'It's a good trade-off for the designers,' says Nevile. 'They are free to pursue their research and to probe the boundaries of design, while The Study gives them the opportunity to sell alongside established furniture manufacturers. The arrangement with The Study means that buyers and decorators working for the more imaginative hotel chains, for example, can feel confident specifying fashionable furniture and lighting from young designers.
'Until now these people have been nervous of buying contemporary design. You can understand their point of view: it would be pretty daft to buy a beautiful and fascinating lamp for a hotel bedroom, say, if you thought the wiring was a bit amateur or if you bruised your shin every time you brushed past it.'
The Study collection is also designed for the home. 'We've put pieces into production that we want for ourselves,' says Meath-Baker, Nevile's partner.
'My Goliath sofa, for example, was originally meant for my own home and for a friend who said he wanted a custom-designed sofa for snogging on. Here it has been made using traditional methods of construction and upholstery; it's pretty sexy, but it's not going to break.'
The same is true of the delightful lamps - 'Fish', 'Balance', 'Eucalyptus' and 'Vertebrae' - designed by Hannah Woodhouse. Before moving into design, Woodhouse worked with the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the fashion designers John Galliano and Betty Jackson. Her lamps are the stuff of future auctions and well worth snapping up now while they cost a modest couple of hundred pounds; whether in resin, steel or cast bronze, they are beautifully finished as well as fascinating to touch and look at (they will also light your room, if you get beyond the point of admiring them and remember to switch them on).
'We will add gradually to the range,' says Nevile, 'but if people can't find exactly what they want, we can either ask our team of designers to produce a one-off, made to our specifications, or else track down someone we might not have worked with before.
'We like to say that, if it's a contemporary British design you want, we will know where to find it and who can make it.'
The Study is a real step forward for those it commissions and promotes; its approach helps overcome the fundamental problem of cost affecting most of Britain's talented young designers. It is one thing to be able to make a brilliant one-off, quite another to batch-produce furniture that will meet rigorous quality, reliability and safety standards.
Spirited young designers often find themselves trying to sell furniture they have poured their heart and energy into, at prices that leave them out of pocket or that only the well-off can afford. Neither option is attractive. As a result, some designers make their own furniture by employing cheap but eager young staff desperate to do something 'creative' before the need to earn a proper living forces them to look for adult pay packets. Others, more or less incongruously, cruise the upper and artier echelons of the social circuit, knowing that here is where patronage lies.
'We give young designers the chance to escape both these fates,' says Nevile. 'The Study means their work will get to be seen in public places such as hotel foyers and up-beat offices. It allows them to get on with experimental work while being sold professionally and earning royalties.
'This means - well, I hope it does - that the designers we're working with will escape the trap of being considered purely the artistic property of the avant-garde.
'We're not in any way trying to compromise the skills of young designers; we're editing their work and getting it made to the best possible standard and selling it at a price that makes sense to a commercial and domestic market that they would otherwise never reach.'
The Study, Brewery Square, London SE1 4LF (071-240 5844).
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