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Craftsmanship

With an uncompromising commitment to British manufacturing and as a result of over 27 years of collaboration with some of Britain’s finest makers, Soane has become a showcase for the best of the country’s established and new craft industries.

Quality of craftsmanship and flexibility in production underpin all that Soane makes. Every design is made in Britain calling upon the skills of numerous workshops, with makers that include blacksmiths, silversmiths, chair makers, saddlers and rattan weavers, who have been perfecting their arts over generations. Soane’s designs exemplify cross-disciplinary collaboration, often traveling to a number of workshops in the process of their making, ensuring the best craftsmanship is deployed at each stage of production.

Made in Britain

Manufacturing the collection in Britain allows the quality to be closely overseen and regularly checked. Each Soane design demands a variety of traditional skills that combine to make a superb piece that will endure, in its classic design, its function and its craftsmanship.

Soane is proud to champion British crafts, celebrating the enthusiasm and pride in workmanship shared by all its makers. Founder, Lulu Lytle, is a mentor supporting emerging craft businesses. Soane’s determination to secure the future of traditional crafts, has guided the company’s growth over the last quarter of a century, investing in its workshops, most notably reviving the last remaining rattan weaving workshop in the country where it has established an apprenticeship programme.

Soane Britain's Craftsmanship Map
Soane Craftsmanship: Rattan Weavers

Rattan Weavers

The revival of an almost extinct British industry is at the heart of the Soane rattan story, which now continues with the making of furniture and lighting based on the principles of integrity and longevity.

In 2010, after eight years working with Angraves, the only rattan workshop in England, Lulu received news that it was going into administration. Faced with the possibility of these specialist skills vanishing from Britain altogether, and the end of 150 years of rattan weaving in Leicester, Lulu decided to establish Soane’s own workshop in the city. The skill now flourishes under an apprenticeship scheme established by Lulu in 2011 to foster skills passed down over generations.

Chair Makers

Chair making is a highly specialised craft; to make chairs of superb quality and comfort takes exceptional joinery skills. Soane took full ownership of a well-established chair making workshop in Dorset, on the South coast of England, in 2016 when the team dwindled to just one. Three craftspeople now continue the traditions of eighteenth century master chair makers.

Soane Craftsmanship: Chair Makers
Soane Craftsmanship: Chair Makers (detail)
Soane Craftsmanship: Patination craftsman
Soane Craftsmanship: Patination

Patination

Patination is a significant process in the creation of all our metal designs and is carried out at Soane’s own Leicester workshops. The component parts of all our lights are made in Britain either by casting or fabricating brass and bronze. These components are meticulously brazed and polished before the metal is ready to be patinated and assembled.

Soane’s process brings designs to life and great care is taken to achieve consistency of colour and warmth whilst treading a fine line between monotonous uniformity and beautiful individuality.

Upholsterers

Soane’s upholstered chairs, sofas and stools are made by numerous specialists in Britain employing diverse materials to meet the demands of each design. Combining centuries-old techniques with modern developments in sustainable materials, pieces are upholstered in a choice of Soane fabric or leather, or using the client’s own material.

At Soane we are very lucky to work closely with some of the best upholsterers in the country and are incredibly proud to support these remarkable skills by sponsoring new apprentices to ensure we secure the future of this craft in Britain.

Soane Craftsmanship: Upholsterers
Soane Craftsmanship: Uphostering
Soane Craftsmanship: Cabinet Makers and Finishers
Soane Craftsmanship: Cabinet Makers and Finishers

Cabinet Makers and Finishers

Many of Soane’s timber furniture designs are made by a workshop in Suffolk, England, that has been perfecting its cabinetry skills for generations. A background in antique dealing and a deep understanding of 18th and 19th Century furniture construction informs all of their work. So that standards are met precisely and consistently, each Soane timber design is made from start to finish by one craftsman. All of us at Soane feel lucky to have collaborated with this excellent family business for the last 27 years.

Metal Workers and Engineers

Metal workers and engineers across Britain are employed in the production of many Soane designs, from tables and shelving to lighting and mirrors. Small and typically family-owned workshops, each with their own specialisations – casting, engineering, fabricating, machining, finishing and plating metal – combine traditional and cutting edge techniques for the best results.

Soane Craftsmanship: Metal workers and Engineers
Soane Craftsmanship: Metal workers and Engineers
Soane Craftsmanship: Printers

Printers

All of Soane’s printed fabrics are made in British workshops where highly skilled craftspeople practise traditional printing methods. For the past 14 years Soane has collaborated with a family run mill in Kent, a county in South East England, to develop our most complex, finely drawn patterns. Their skill is remarkable, using flat bed silk screen techniques to create modern fabrics that capture the atmosphere and depth of the most beautiful old textiles.

Foundrymen

Soane works with foundries across the country adopting several casting methods to suit the demands of different designs. Many of Soane’s metal lighting designs are made by a workshop in Hastings, on the South coast of England, that is highly specialised in the technique of lost wax casting. Traditionally used by artists to cast bronze sculptures, the art of lost wax casting allows for great freedom and flexibility of form while retaining exceptionally fine details and beautifully smooth surfaces. This detail and decorative nature brings designs to life. Every cast metal lighting design passes through the hands of numerous craftspeople, epitomising the great expertise and extraordinary skills of the workshop.

Soane Craftsmanship: Foundrymen
Soane Craftsmanship: Foundrymen
Soane Craftsmanship: Blacksmiths

Blacksmiths

Forging iron and steel is one of the oldest known metal working processes. Soane’s exceptional blacksmith Mark creates some of Soane’s most distinctive pieces at his foundry on the edge of the Forest of Dean, in the county of Gloucestershire, England, transforming inert steel bars into tables, desks and mirrors through hours of heating, hammering and cooling.

Weavers

Combining traditional weaving techniques and a deep understanding of antique textiles with the latest loom technology, the weavers with whom Soane works beautifully recreate the feel and quality of the originals on which they are based.

Soane works with a 300-year-old family mill in Sudbury, in the English county of Suffolk, home to an exceptional, innovative team. The intricate weaving process, which requires the varied skills of yarn operatives, warpers, weavers, tacklers and inspectors, begins with the selection of the best yarns for the warp and weft and finishes with an inspection of every inch of the newly woven cloth. 

Soane Craftsmanship: Weavers
Soane Craftsmanship: Weavers
Soane Craftsmanship: Saddlers
Soane Craftsmanship: Saddlers

Saddlers

Soane works with a traditional saddler with decades of experience making superb quality leather goods to craft Soane’s leather wrapped designs. Based in Suffolk, England, the saddler collaborates with the cabinet makers and engineers in design development and expertly selects hides to suit each design. He measures and cuts the leather for each made to order piece, then meticulously wraps the wood or metal, hand stitching seams in a choice of coloured threads and burnishing edges for a superb finish.