Manifesto (Part One)

When considering the principles behind Berdoulat, there seems to be a strong parallel between its beliefs and goals, and those of the Arts & Crafts movement.

Like William Morris and his followers, we are intent on creating authentic, well-made interiors and products.

Reviving old techniques of production and construction, Arts & Crafts design focussed on simplicity of form, and often exposed the methods behind a piece's making. This honest approach allowed for there to be an emphasis on the qualities of the materials used.

The reforms they so vigorously preached were the result of a revulsion against the vulgar contemporary designs so celebrated in The Great Exhibition of 1851, and in a deeper sense a reaction against the soulless machine-production of the Industrial Revolution.

Berdoulat shares many of their beliefs and recognises that today we live in a world where these evils, catalysed by Modernism and its Swedish flat-pack children, have been allowed to flourish to the detriment of popular contemporary attitudes towards design, making and living. We do not set out to single-handedly change the status quo, but provide a "healthy option" for those who share our views.

Since the 1990s we have witnessed the rebirth and rapid growth of organic farming, and while genetically modified products still occupy the majority of shelf space there's no questioning the positive effect it has had on our collective way of thinking about local, seasonal food.

Our beautiful community-centric High Streets have disappeared behind chain store facades. Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers have been driven out by supermarkets housed in shamefully ugly buildings on the outskirts of towns. Luckily however, farmers' markets have become increasingly common, offering lovingly produced local food.

We are an umbrella organisation of designers and makers who share a conviction that there must be a rise in equivalent alternatives to the poor quality mass-produced, economically driven interior, architectural and product design so rife today.

Our work celebrates traditional techniques, be they in plastering, woodwork, sewing and stitching, printing, painting or stencilling. What drives us is not purely a conservative nostalgia, but a love of truth and a dedication to the creation of beautiful, unique, well-crafted products.

It's true that "they don't make them like they used to". It was not that long ago that the average drawer, even the cheapest example, would have dovetail joints. Such methods of construction have been used over the centuries because they are proven to work and last. A laminated reconstituted cardboard equivalent today barely survives one house move. One often sees flat pack furniture returned to its flat state in skips or laid to rest for the bin man in a front garden before its "beech effect" has even had the opportunity to acquire patina. We are the first generation to have to ask ourselves "what will be the pieces of furniture our children inherit that have been made in our time?"

Part Two >