Design Centre Stories

Forty Years of David Seyfried Ltd

A portrait of Lord Herbert, David Seyfried

A perennial favourite among interior designers, David Seyfried Ltd has been making furniture for 40 years – 30 years of which have been spent at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Founded by David Seyfried, Lord Herbert, in 1984, the brand started with a stool and has grown to be one of the most popular bespoke furniture makers in the UK, with everything made in its Nottinghamshire workshop. Here, Seyfried muses on four decades in business and tells us how he’s planning to celebrate.

How did you first start out in business – and why furniture?

After a foray in the City, I decided this was not for me and, determined to try something completely different, I moved on to the London auction rooms before starting my own antiques business. I discovered that large Victorian stools would always fly out of the door; so, I decided to make my own, and the rest is history.

What were the first pieces that you made (are any still in the portfolio…?) 

The stools were the first products and customers often wanted them upholstered in kilim carpets. Today, we sell a variety of styles and sizes of stools with different legs and finishes but they are made in the same way as they always have been with any fabric the client wishes to use.

Even with such a classic collection of furniture, you must have seen an awful lot of trends come and go. What stands out to you over the years? And what seems to be hitting the zeitgeist right now? 

Indeed, so many trends have come and gone and some full circle. The kilims were a strong trend in the 1990s. I would say currently, the country house look is having a revival with many clients opting for skirted furniture, floral prints and detailing such as fringes and braids. Maximalism is having a resurgence too in the form of strong and colourful prints, which is great news!

Do you have a personal favourite piece from your collection?  

It’s so hard to choose! Our ‘Oakley’ sofa, based on a 19th-century design, is a very pleasing classic design, but I also love the shape of the Ripple [pictured above] and Wave collection and the bobbin arms and legs on the ‘Portobello’ chair.

What are you doing to celebrate your anniversary? 

We have launched the ‘Devonshire’ sofa to mark this four-decade milestone. We have collaborated with interior designer Carlos Garcia and upholstered the sofa in fabric from his incredible new collection [pictured above]. We are planning further collaborations and collections, too.

What’s stayed the same in the last 40 years?

Our range of furniture designs is constantly evolving but manufacturing techniques have remained the same; each piece is handmade in our workshop in Nottinghamshire by our team of craftspeople, who have a vast array of skills.

You’re one of the longest-standing tenants at the Design Centre, having been here for 30 years – how has it changed?

I could see the Design Centre’s great potential as a hub for design. I think I was one of the first here and certainly there was no central staircase. When I look around now, it reaffirms that I made the right choice. There is nowhere else in London that attracts quite the same energy and buzz around design; every way you turn, you are likely to be inspired. It also has a great community. 

What’s the secret to the company’s longevity?

The exceptional personal service and the design, innovation and quality of the products. I enjoy getting to know my clients and they come back for more.  Some of my clients have stayed with us for 40 years!  I think we offer a great choice for clients – a style for everyone and every room.  

Are you optimistic for the future, from a business perspective?   

Yes, most certainly, notwithstanding the macroeconomic environment, we are ready and looking forward to the next chapter.

David Seyfried Ltd, First Floor, Centre Dome