Back in 2012, my intention was never to create a luxury brand. The furniture you now see in our Autonomous showroom and website is a byproduct of fundamental value, albeit our pieces are often grouped as luxury, let me expand on my thought process and why I categorize our furniture as premium rather than luxury.
Design – From the beginning of choosing our name, Autonomous, I always wanted to design original furniture, without influence of trends, and not always playing nice in a room. Add Drama and evoke conversation. To achieve, my mind is busy looking at shapes, composition, and materials. Never in magazines, Instagram, or Pinterest (ahggg).
Function – There’s a saying that luxury goods are not related to performance, “I can afford regardless of its purpose”. Every furniture piece we make at Autonomous is debated, scrutinized, and tested. Is the bench the perfect height to put on ones’ shoes? Can you jump on the bench? Will the finish stand the test of time? Could the furniture piece be repurposed in the future? To name a few examples.
Social – I source almost all of the wood used in our furniture locally. I know the families who assist us in the wood purchases and the economic impact of a good wage earned for these people. All of our metal work is done locally, using steel from North America. Our production involves highly skilled workers right here on Vancouver Island, and as we expand employing graduates from the fine British Columbia technical programs available.
Value - Often Luxury furniture is discounted at great proportion, a reflection of the available margin and obvious void of cost. Autonomous craftsman will always put the quality of the furniture ahead of profit. Not to say we don't have to be mindful of numbers, however first priority is craft and execution. It's also the reason you'll never see our pieces on sale.
I view our furniture not as senseless purchases, the intrinsic value shown as functional art, provided fruitful employment, sound environmental practice, and something that will enrich its environment (yours) every day as you sit, eat, or rest with Autonomous Furniture.
Photo credit: first three photos by Jody Beck, final photo by Jo-Ann Richards.