REDEFINING THE WAY WE LOOK AT SURFACE DESIGN:
During our visit at the Surface Design Show this year, we stumbled upon Sterling Studios – a brand of specialist artisans who bring applied arts to interior design by combining classic techniques with modern technology. The studio produces a variety of surface designs, including etched glass and Verre Eglomisé, the latter a beautiful romantic gilt and reverse painted glass originating from 18th century France.
Known for their superb bespoke decorative finishes and artworks in a multitude of mediums including glass, lacquer, paint, resin, metal and plaster, Sterling Studios bring their old-age craft to contemporary high end interior designs.
Working with eminent designers like Nicholas Haslam, Douglas Mackie, Terrence Disdale, Sagrada, and David Linley, to name but a few, Sterling Studios’ iconic artworks can be found adorning elegant and vibrant spaces such as Tiffany & Co, the London Edition Hotel by Yabu Pushelberg, the Arts Club, Selfridge’s Tax Refund Lounge, Sloane Terrace and Graff showrooms around the world, among numerous other projects – many of them luxury residences.
Their bespoke finishes can be used on furniture, walls, doors, and even unique feature installations. Designers worldwide enjoy working with Sterling Studios mainly because of the enormous variety of materials and colours that they make available in their production process.
Behind the name is a team of thirty design and art professionals, supported by modern machinery, CAD facilities and a 10,000+ sq. ft. premises in London – this allows a limitless variety of decorative possibilities across small and large projects, with fabulous lead times and even more fabulous finishes.
Sterling Studios was founded in 2003 by Francois Lavenir and Fiona Sutcliffe, building on their previous careers in antique restoration, design and painting. Driven by technical curiosity and love for classical arts, Mr Lavenir and Ms Sutcliffe constantly push the studio to explore new possibilities and take on ambitious challenges brought forth by interior designers.
From the surfaces they frequently work with, Verre Eglomisé is one of the most popular, thanks to its finesse and luxurious appeal. It was named after Jean-Baptiste Glomy, a French 18th century frame maker to Louis XVI, who used the technique extensively to embellish framed prints and to decorate mirrors and trumeaux for Marie Antoinette.
The technique consists of laying gold or silver leaf on glass, often in conjunction with painted decoration. At its simplest, a single or double line of gold leaf is laid on the glass, protected by a layer of paint.
At its most complicated, however, intricate artworks can be achieved by engraving the design through the leaf and applying colour to show through the engraved areas, after which the painting is in turn backed with protective glass or foil.
After years of using gesso in antique restoration, Sterling Studios also developed the Cracked Gesso line. Historically used as the ground for water gilding, the studio has adapted it for use by incorporating a canvas backing, in order to create decorative texture panels, perfect for joinery and wall panels.
Also inspired by the Founders’ antique restoration processes, Sterling Studios do a fine job with leather as a decorative surface. It can be embossed, gilt, patinated and painted for walls, furniture and flooring, for a warm and rich effect. Stemming from Cordoba, Spain – the centre of European decorative leather production, the studio’s technique addresses standard leathers such as cowhide, buffalo calf, vellum and shagreen.
The beauty of commissioning decorative elements through Sterling Studios is the bespoke factor – their artisans work closely with custom designs provided by the client, as well as propose the studio’s own models. Either way, from concept to production and installation, a Sterling Studios decorative surface is given impressive amounts of attention. The devil is in the details, after all.
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