House and Home talks to designers in the Dublin region.
Furniture with Soul is how Andrew St. Ledger describes his bespoke furniture. Helping people realise their dreams is the service he provides, and, like a tailor he pays attention to every detail of the piece he creates.
Andrew was trained as a woodcarver and cabinetmaker, first working for Caulfields of Santry and then doing consultancy work for Cookes of Francis Street. Woodcarving is his specialty, and curves are his trademark; he has a classically inclined style and admits to being heavily influenced by the past.
His company, Acanthus, formed in 1990, is based in Dublin and is mainly in the business of doing one-off commissions for private clients. "We do some corporate work too - for Irish Permanent and Bank of Ireland, for instance, who wanted a wooden screen in one case, and boardroom furniture which had a modern feel but would suit a very old building. As a consultant, I have an eye for shapes and designs in furniture, which bridge the old and the more contemporary."
The cello table pictured here is a limited edition, brought about by St. Ledger letting design follow the raw material. "A wood importer handed me this beautiful piece of double buff walnut. To maximise the beauty of the wood, I made the cello table as it followed its shape".
Acanthus showed in Belfast last year but otherwise does business through word-of-mouth. No job is too demanding, nor too simple, according to St. Ledger, who is just as happy designing and making a table as he is tackling a large corporate contract. From the minute a customer approaches with a problem - something stunning to fill that alcove please - St.Ledger is on the case taking the project through to the final product - a one-off, handmade and carved piece of beauty to become the family heirloom of the future.
words: Patricia Murray photos: John Reck