After a year of lockdowns when so many stores and businesses have pivoted to online only, it was exciting to hear about a new brand that has just opened up a showroom in London with plans to open more in each corner of the city over the next year so for today’s Ad break I’m going to tell you about this new company making great affordable designs that pay attention to the details.
Vivense is a Turkish company that sells well-designed affordable furniture from a mix of its own designers and others it has cherry-picked from around the world. In one canny marriage of the two great giants of furniture design, it works closely with an Italian designer, Emanuele Patton, who lives in Denmark.
But another key part of the philosophy behind the brand (which has some 80 stores in Turkey) is that all the shops are staffed by interior designers. In an era where we have had to get used to relying on our own judgement and making big purchasing decisions from a series of photographs, it’s a refreshing change to know that you can drop in here with a floor plan, a photograph or even (happens more than you might think) a hastily drawn sketch on the back of an envelope and receive professional advice.
There are plans to expand this service to provide a more comprehensive interior design scheme, but in the hour I was visiting the shop, two couples, one elderly, one young, arrived having seen the products online and wishing to sit, touch, try before they ordered. Both left with orders confirmed.
The company was founded in 2013 as an Istanbul-based start-up and all the products are made in Turkey in an area near a sustainably managed forest with locally woven fabrics. Many of the sofas are modular and you can choose from dozens of fabrics including cotton, velvet and boucle.
I was particularly taken with Softy, a minimal design that allows you to flip the back down turning it into a single bed or even a deep day bed that would be perfect for putting your feet up and watching television. The details of the Leo sofa – brass legs simply styled and firm upholstery – were also worthy of note. I walked around trying to wobble table here or feel a bookcase there and it all felt solid and well made.
A couple of armchairs – Eliza and Merlin caught my eye – the former won’t appear too heavy in a small space with its brass legs, while the latter was comfortable and supportive. The Tera chair is small and neat and will fit happily into any interior.
The Lola bookcase would be great to zone a room if you wanted to create a divide between work and play, while the West Monroe sofa is perfect for a bedroom and would look great with yesterday’s clothes draped casually over it.
In addition to furniture, Vivense has a strong accessory and cushion game with some great rugs (the most colourful are on page 3) too – contemporary in style not Turkish, although the clean lines of the furniture would go well with more ornate rugs if that’s your bag.
Vivense maintains it is primarily an e-commerce site and provides lots of details, pictures and descriptions for those who wish to purchase that way (or who live out of town) but if you fancy a trip out and a sit down in a rather beautifully designed showroom (Haptic Architects) while chatting to a professional about your sitting room plans then it’s right by Borough tube station with more sites coming by the end of the year.
It’s also worth pointing out (as Sophie and I discussed in a recent podcast) that if you are unsure about a company take a look at the investment it has made in its photography which is a sign of quality and care. Here there are lifestyle shots, details and different angles as well as a lovely real life showroom.