BL16 - Page 66

here is something
inescapably romantic about
the idea of an old-fashioned
travel trunk. They conjure
up an EM Forster-ish world
of porters hauling them up gangplanks,
and absurdly overloaded and top-heavy
old motorcars rattling through the dust
in far-flung colonial outposts. Or
indeed, for some of us, a remembrance
of boarding-school days, wherein
beaten-up trunks and tuck-boxes, often
handed on from previous generations,
found inevitable other uses as bedsit
coffee tables and seating. They are no
longer required kit, I’m told, and that
means, in the most part, that the trunk
has passed well and truly into the
world of the antique. Indeed, in the
Bentley’s antiques shop on Pimlico
Road – a stone’s throw from Boisdale of
Belgravia – you’ll find beautifully-made
vintage examples from the likes of
Louis Vuitton, Goyard and Moynat,
luxury marques that were first
established as the most celebrated
makers of bespoke trunks.
Unlikely as it may seem, however,
there’s a new name to add to that
tradition, based not in the ateliers of
Paris, but in a forest a few miles outside
Edinburgh. Method Studio, founded by
master cabinetmaker Callum Robinson
and his wife Marisa Giannasi, a
designer and former architect, occupies
a picturesque former sawmill in the
Bathgate Hills. Here, surrounded by
citrus spruce forests planted a century
ago, the couple and their small team
have spent the past few years producing
all manner of elegant, minutelyhandmade artefacts: furniture, cabinets,
drinks cases, watch boxes and other
objets, most of it bespoke, and mostly
using local, storm-blown timber. As
well as private projects, these have
Travelling to the
rural workshop to
see how they are
made is part of the
bespoke experience
In a forest workshop outside Edinburgh,
Timothy Barber discovers an extraordinary
revival in the art of bespoke trunkmaking
included commissions for the likes of Burberry, Jaguar,
Bentley and Vacheron Constantin, much of it inspired by the
style and feel of old-fashioned, portable cabinets and trunks.
The couple has now founded a studio within a studio,
Method Trunk Works, dedicated to producing ten fully
bespoke, hand-made trunks per year. And these are not the
kinds of luggage pieces set to end up as shabby-chic coffee
tables any time soon: Involving an estimated 300 hours of
handwork to produce a single piece, they’re scaled to fit in
the luggage bay of a private jet or be hauled up the jetty to
a superyacht. Prices start at £26,500, while the flagship trunk,
the Grand Tourer, comes in at £38,000. Rippling with
gleaming Scottish leather and oiled oak, it’s loaded with
drop-down drawers, removable accessories cases, and a
hanging rail with hand-shaped oak hangers for suits.
As the ultimate accessory to travel, for those for whom
baggage carousels and the boot space of
an airport Addison Lee are not a going
concern, it takes some beating.
“It quivers with the amount of effort
and care that goes into it,” says
Robinson, the son of a master
woodcarver, with whom he learned his
craft before establishing his business.
“Other trunks are just frames and
leather, but with our cabinetmaking
background we can incorporate that
fine artisanal work and sense of detail,
which add so much that’s truly special.”
Included in the production of
Method Studio’s bespoke trunks is the
opportunity to travel to the rural
workshop to see how they are made –
as Robinson points out, at this level,
the journey is as much a part of the
experience as the finished product.
For those fired up by such artistry
but on smaller budgets, I’d recommend
a stop-off at the charming little Method
Studio shop, M74, in the nearby
historic village of Linlithgow. Here,
Method Studio’s M74 shop
in the village of Linlithgow
furniture and artefacts as exquisitely
made as they’re ingeniously conceived

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