Cornwall LivingIssue #66

Reimagine the traditional

Against the backdrop of an increasingly throwaway society, there is a reassuring resurgence in traditional craftsmanship taking place across the Duchy.

In an age of flat-pack furniture where nothing is built to last, our motto seems to be ‘out with the old and in with the new’. And yet, building on its rich heritage in artisanal and skilled craftsmanship, Cornwall is now getting back to its roots, becoming synonymous with the cutting edge of design.

“Stripping back a chair is like stripping back history.”

Two new Cornish businesses at the forefront of this revival are KOOS Furniture and Kador Upholstery. Each company launched this year, thanks to tailored support from Cornish business start-up experts, Outset Cornwall.

Founded by Steven Coonick, a master cabinetmaker from the internationally renowned Rowden Woodworking School of Fine Furniture, KOOS designs and creates bespoke fine furniture, as well as offering products from an existing collection of limited edition pieces. Taken from the Cornish word for forest, ‘KOOS’ furniture is made to order from hand-selected, sustainably sourced hardwoods and quality materials.

With commissions already completed for a number of prestigious clients, Steven’s exceptional design and precise execution is flying the flag in Cornwall for fine furniture crafted using traditional skills.

The inspiration for setting up Kador (Cornish for chair) Upholstery, the brainchild of husband and wife Steve and Maika Medlyn, was the desire to help keep the craft of traditional upholstery alive. A dying art for many years, the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers Diploma is helping to train people like Steve in traditional furniture restoration.

“There’s been quite an upsurge in upcycling old furniture,” explains Steve. “People buy an old piece of furniture and want it restored to its former glory. Stripping back a chair is like stripping
back history. We want to make sure that we’re true to the heritage of each piece
we work on.”

Kador’s plans for the future include a working partnership with local bespoke furniture manufacturers and diversification into leather repairs, vehicle and marine upholstery and French polishing.

"Stripping back a chair is like stripping back history."