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Design and Technology

Beyond Bespoke

With over 20 years of experience, Glyn Peter Machin is a leader in the field of custom furniture and product design, taking the meaning of bespoke a step further.

<a href="http://www.glynpetermachin.com/" title="Glyn Peter Machin">Glyn Peter Machin</a> is a perfectionist. A household name within the bespoke furniture and superyacht community, the pieces that emerge from his eponymous studio are lessons in patience, experimentation and artistry. Imagination is paramount, creativity is the driver, but nothing leaves the studio until it is flawless. Based in a charming 19th-century boathouse in Copenhagen overlooking one of the city’s winding canals, Glyn and his studio create one-off pieces for the world’s most discerning clients. “Copenhagen is a beautiful city and our office is an inspiring place to work,” says Glyn. GPM’s relocation to the Danish capital came after five years in New York’s Upper East Side and a period in London before that. “We loved New York, but Europe is a wonderful place to be based,” he says. “Most of our clients are based here. We’ve only just moved to this city but it is already proving to be a great attraction for clients. They come to the showroom to meet and discuss designs, and then they can go and see the city.” While everything is made to order, how bespoke it is is up to the customer. Existing designs can be adapted and Glyn has a back catalogue of iconic creations. But the greatest experience is one where the client is taken on a creative journey from concept to completion. Commissioning a bespoke piece of furniture is a deeply human experience; one where clients can indulge and express their fundamental passions in a form that is entirely original to them. Unique practitioners in the art of story-telling through design and craftsmanship, GPM’s work toes the line between art and design, adapting to the style and requirements of each client. In order to achieve the unending diversity of their work, GPM have become masters of merging traditional and modern techniques and materials. As well as their own dedicated workshop in provincial Denmark, which specialises in woodworking, GPM have cultivated a network of artists and specialists the world over. From glassblowers in Murano and cabinetmakers in England to experts in decorative steelwork and carbon fibre, their collective of artisans share their passion for excellence and are a crucial part of bringing each design to life. Glyn and his studio create pieces for projects on land and sea but their reputation for bespoke was forged in the superyacht industry. Since his first Monaco Yacht Show 14 years ago, Glyn has been involved in countless superyacht projects, designing custom exterior furniture for yachts from 40m to 160m. “A few years ago a list of the top 10 yachts largest yachts launched that year was revealed and our work could be found on eight of the 10,” recalls Glyn. “What was unique about this was that every single project was different. Not one piece on any boat was the same as another.” For him, what makes the superyacht realm so fulfilling to be a part of is the creative freedom that the studio often is given. “This is an extremely demanding industry to work in, don’t get me wrong,” he says. “But you get a wonderful budget and the flexibility to do something really special.” One of their most exciting projects was for Oceanco a couple of years ago when they were given a blank GA and asked to design everything for each of the five decks. “Once it was done, we tore up the drawings and there are no photographs, so no one will ever see it,” he says. “But we created some incredible pieces for this boat. We only had a year to do it and it was a huge challenge, but it was one of the coolest experiences to have that creative freedom.” It would be hard to find someone whose work has had as clear an impact on the styling of superyacht decks as Glyn Peter Machin. Cast your eyes across the exterior spaces of the yachts in any marina and the influence of the studio’s designs will be evident. This influence goes beyond simply the aesthetic, though – indeed, Glyn argues that they do not have a signature style at all. Instead, GPM’s essence can be seen in the elegant yet robust forms, the finishes, the materials and, most of all, the quality. Glyn’s fastidious attention to detail means that his signature lies most in what can’t be seen, rather than what can. Take GPM’s Director’s Chair, for example. The director’s chair is one of those iconic designs that you can see on the pages of most furniture catalogues in some form or another. Lightweight and easily foldable with crossing legs, it is a timeless, functional piece. “If you are going to reapproach a classic style like this you need to reimagine it completely,” says Glyn. With a flowing, subtly curving frame, this Director’s Chair has an elegance that comes from Scandinavian simplicity. Unlike the legs on most chairs of this type, GPM have engineered it so that the cross is flush, looking like one piece of wood rather than one leg crossing over another. “To make it strong enough to bear weight like this, we had to engineer and develop the frame out of 316 steel and then cover it in the wood. It took a year of research and design to perfect. You would never know the steel was there. The result is one of our most iconic pieces, I think.” Glyn admits that when clients are first told the price tag of a piece like the Director’s Chair, they are shocked, but once they understand what is behind GPM’s pieces they understand. “It is all about the details that go on beyond the materials,” he says. “You can buy a cheaper chair that looks nice now, but you will have to replace it quicker. Ours will last a lifetime. Most clients are willing to pay for longevity and quality.” With the new Copenhagen showroom officially open this summer, several exciting custom projects underway and in the pipeline, and plans to extend into creating limited edition collections of decorative accessories, Glyn Peter Machin have no intention to rest on their laurels. “We like to grow and challenge ourselves,” he says. “When you do, the possibilities are endless.”  

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