David Linley looks back at the noughties

The Royal carpenter on the past decade of design

How will the noughties fit into the history of furniture design? For David Linley, esteemed cabinet maker and chairman of Christie's UK, it will be remembered as the decade that furniture history repeated itself with revitalized craft and a new awareness of furniture as art. "The Noughties have been a melting pot of old ideas and new ideas all coming together," says Linley listing Ron Arad, Marc Newson and Studio Job as design decade leaders.

Search for the perfect furniture with The Independent house and home database, powered by mydeco. 

"In the past few years, people have propelled furniture into the sculpture and modern art idiom," Linley, the son of Princess Margaret, told me last week. "Not long ago it was a huge gamble to call furniture design art. Recently, there has been a huge change in people's perception of furniture." Linley, who made his first piece of wooden furniture (a desk) at the age of 13, has two eponymous shops in London, in Belgravia and Mayfair respectively. He has long been intrigued how history affects future designs.

Earlier this month in New York, Linley launched his new book Star Pieces – The Enduring Beauty of Spectacular Furniture (Thames and Hudson) written with London-based author Helen Chislett and Charles Cator, deputy chairman of Christie's International. The book, a heavy coffee table number full of glossy photos and tips on how to commission or buy furniture - explores the golden ages of furniture from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome through to the movements of the modern day. "Design Art has added huge excitement to the world of furniture – it means that furniture now takes part in the art world and is not being separated from it. It is the coming together of the art world and furniture world."

Linley is a firm believer that in order to move forward, furniture designers must look back at earlier designs. "This really is the new golden age," Linley says of the noughties. "What I find exciting is the new collective of designers using craft in the old fashioned way, not the 70s way of the bobble hat brigade."

"I think the decade of noughties can be described as art meeting craft meeting design," he says. "You've got people using old skills again – for example, Studio Job did that with the screens with skeletons [called Perished in 2006] and with their rosewood 'Bavaria' screen in 2008." Similarly, the 'mad chair with mad twigs' by the French designer Vincent Dubourg uses old techniques like wood-bending and metal-casting to create something both modern and fresh.

Linley remains a traditionalist at heart; he’d rather look to history books than research online. Yet he values how the web has affected the industry this decade; "The internet now influences everyone and helps collectors choose what they want, rather than them being dictated to by fashion. During the 1920s and 1930s, you had a distinct state of what was collectable. Now, the internet gives people the confidence to choose what they actually want."

Of course, the web allows designers to research historical trends and past creations. When a student (pre the dot.com days), Linley thought he had created a particularly ingenious architect’s table only to discover 'his' design had been around for two hundred years. "I began to learn one of the most crucial lessons for any furniture designer: if you want to move forward, you must first look backwards. If you don't understand history, you are wasting your time. The roots of great furniture design go down a long way. The trick is in understanding what has gone before and keeping that line going forward."

Like most fathers, all Linley wants for Christmas is something handmade by his children. "They're very inquisitive and creative." He says of Charles, 10 and Margarita, 7. "I'd love something that my children have designed and made themselves." And what do you know; the history of furniture design is repeating itself in the Linley household.

Annie Deakin is Editor of furniture and interior design website mydeco.com.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

Senior Java Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Leading Sof...

Chemistry Teacher

£90 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried