Worthy of prime placement in a curio, the imaginative and feminine edginess of Cabinet’s adornment wooed us from first sight. Luxe metals, oversized crystals, a slightly vintage feel... The line just gets it all so right.
For Cabinet’s co-founder, Gemma Critchley, the brand was a natural evolution of her lifelong affinity for collecting. Spending much of her childhood in the West Indies where her parents lived for nearly 20 years, Critchley grew fascinated with the continually changing life and color below the surface of the area’s crystal clear rock pools. “There are so many things unearthed in a Nor’wester storm that may not be solid gold, but I would definitely call treasures,” Critchley says.
On a recent trip to the Cayman Islands to visit her interior designer friend, Critchley’s interest was reawakened. “We spent almost two weeks scouring the beaches for unusual finds and sources of inspiration that we would document at the end of each day and group into design possibilities,” she says. Whether acquiring an odd nut, seed, coral, or bone, Critchley couldn’t help but feel a wild anticipation for her next discovery.
To this day, Critchley identifies herself as a “serious collector of all things unusual.” She spends endless hours searching through antique shops, flea markets, reclamation yards, second hand shops, and even the beach to find beautiful and uncommon objects. “I struck upon some real finds in dusty old cabinets hidden in the back corners of some of these places -- cabinets filled with curiosities," Critchley recounts. “That's really how we became Cabinet. Our name represents our continuous quest for evolution and reinvention, and our love for all the wonderful things that have already stood the test of time.”
Just when we thought the latest MacBook Air marked the ultimate office, Cabinet one-ups us. “Our studio encapsulates the Cabinet brand -- fresh, light and airy,” says Critchley. “We have filled it with all of the wonderful old and eclectic pieces that we have collected over the years.”
Entering Cabinet’s Somerset workspace feels like you’ve come across an uncharted world in Alice’s Wonderland: White-wash sofas sit atop monochrome checkered rugs; antique spectacles and tone-on-tone flower bouquets bring table tops to life; Edward Lear illustrations and an enormous antler coat rack adorn the walls. Poke around further and let curiosities like a beautiful Horseshoe cake stand and vintage teddy bears delight. “Our props are often part of our surroundings, and create a seamless line between work and play,” says Critchley. “This helps to keep our collection defined and directional but always keeping that distinctive Cabinet flair.”
It is in this magical space that Critchley and her team develop mood boards from which they carefully extract the details signature to a collection. “Our designing tends to evolve with every collection,” she says. “It can start with an object, distinctive color palette, or texture. I think sometimes an idea has to evolve and grow before it’s ready to be turned into a viable piece for the collection.”