Elite Traveler Asia sits down with Mark Boddington, Chairman of Silverlining Furniture Group Ltd., a bespoke furniture designer for megayachts, private residences and aircrafts.
Elite Traveler: Mr. Boddington, thank you for your time. Please tell us about yours and Silverlining’s background.
MB: I started Silverlining Furniture 30 years ago. I am a seventh generation Boddington with that strong passion for making furniture. Silverlining’s innovative furniture can be found in luxury palaces, ultra-high-end residences and megayachts around the world.
The Boddington brewing business started in 1778. I decided not to join the family business because I just wasn’t interested at the time. The first piece of furniture I made was a bookcase made with my mother aged 5. I set up my first workshop at the age of 21. Along the way I made some lucky breaks – our first workshop was owned by The Duke and Duchess of Westminster, they are clients to this day, when a plane from Miami to LA I exchanged business cards with an architect who said that he might need my services one day. He later called me and shortly thereafter started working together in Hollywood.
ET: How long do your projects generally take from start to finish?
MB: Each project has a different story. I’ve made a set of 24 chairs, each piece taking 104 hours. A famous collector’s cabinet would take about 14 weeks. The commissioning journey is a mirror of the client, we make it a very special experience, allowing them to be as involved, which is important when it comes down to design.
ET: In your own words, please tell us what bespoke means to you.
MB: Bespoke is having something that is a mirror of your personality, something that you should be able to pass down to the next generation. It is fulfilling one’s dream of having furniture with integrity, with a combination of incredible craftsmanship and revolution of materials. We use rare materials that are very hard to find. It’s also about keeping those time past skills yet combining them with 21st Century innovations
ET: How does each project start?
MB: First we have a brief with the client and start with a brain-storming session. We have a research and innovation centre. We specialise in making the impossible possible with hands-on knowledge of every element of the creative journey and craft. This knowledge enables Silverlining to deliver projects within budget, on time and to a quality and service level that allows us to exceed our client’s expectations.
ET: Have you done any projects with Private Jets?
MB: We’ve done some artwork panels for jets. We also completed a remarkable pop-up beverage cabinet and we created a special watch box in rare Macassar ebony and 23 carat gold detailing for a one of a kind Patek Philippe timepiece .
ET: Please tell us about your design team.
MB: There are 7 of us. We always create samples of the project to show to our clients. We work closely together to meet a project’s aesthetic and functional requirements within a prescribed timescale. It’s a delicate balance that begins with the simple acts of listening and learning; Taking the time to understand a client’s vision and clarify the project’s objectives. Only then can we embark on a journey of pure creativity. We start with hand sketching, because we truly believe no computer can replace the creative flair of an artist’s hand. Our comprehensive sketches enable us to communicate the design with logic and clarity, and are filled with meticulous detail to excite and inspire our client.
ET: As a global leader in bespoke furniture, with such a selective clientele, what drives you to do what you do?
MB: Our next project which at the outset seems impossible. You are always living on the edge perfecting everything for the first time and when it gets to the client, the piece must be exceed all expectations
ET: What’s the best piece you’ve ever made, in your personal taste?
MB: The Infinity Table. The table has a central hypnotic void and colour transition that draws the viewer in. The table combines challenging wood craftsmanship with 21st century composite and mould technology – a tour de force
ET: It has been incredible speaking with you. We have learned so much ourselves and look forward to seeing your continued success. Thank you very much for your time.