Another Country is a new furniture company owned by Paul de Zwart, the founding publisher of Wallpaper magazine. The pieces are produced by hand in a small workshop in Dorset, England, made of solid oak and finished with an oil wax. I'm quite smitten with the chunky, elegant, strenuously simple designs.
Another Country's collection will launch this September during the London Design Festival, consisting of nine pieces: a stool, a bench, a coffee table, a console, a dining table, a daybed, and a kids’ stool, step, and table. But you can buy the furniture online starting today—de Zwart just posted his shipping rates to the U.S. I caught up with de Zwart by email to ask him a few questions about his line and his launch.
Can you tell me a bit about how this company came to be, and who's behind it?
I have always had a passion for design and architecture, and have drawn personal and professional inspiration from schools of design around the world. Over a year ago I was searching for beautifully designed but also honestly priced archetypal pieces of furniture for my house in the country and despite an extensive search could not find what I was looking for. This led me to think and develop the concept for the brand. I subsequently brought partners into the business including 2 former colleagues from the magazine (who are, respectively, a successful design journalist and successful interior designer) and my furniture-maker partner.
Your pieces are produced by hand in a small English workshop-- what sort of work do they usually do? Are you helping keep them in business by giving them modern things to produce?
The shop is called Wardour Workshop. It makes high quality one-off pieces of furniture (and the odd kitchen) for trade clients and private customers. It is run by a husband and wife team and employs two other makers. They are successful in their own right but I think it's fair to say that Another Country gives them a platform to grow at a different level and allows them to focus more on the high quality mid price range rather than solely on expensive one-offs.
What is the idea behind Another Country? What are your inspirations?
The whole collection is based on the concept of a family of pieces that have grown out of the design of the stool and are all of an archetypal design quality. All tops are of a similar thickness and design (rounded bottom edge and straight top), all legs are mounted at the same angle to the horizontal plane, are of similar design and are generally of a similar thickness, and all the heights are consistent (day bed with mattress, stool, bench and coffee table are of one height, and console and dining table of another). In addition, the pieces that come pre-assembled have a distinctive through-leg design that is a signature detail. The overall concept is to be able to sit, eat, sleep and share your space with pieces that are tactile, beautiful, timeless and that will age with you gracefully.
Can you give us a preview of what people can expect to see at your official launch?
For our 'official' London Design Festival launch, September 18 to 26, we shall be introducing a new occasional/dining chair designed by Mathias Hahn and a kitchen stool as well as our first (select) accessories range. What I can confirm at this stage is a selection of in-house designed wooden accessories, and later, around Christmas time, a pottery collection.