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Christopher Guy Harrison is an award-winning internationally renowned designer and the founder and CEO of luxury furnishings brand, Christopher Guy, which will be curating a feature at this year's show. Born in Britain, raised in Spain and France, now residing in Singapore, Christopher’s international background helps him view the world through a critically constructive eye that draws in inspiration from everything he admires and transcends this into his designs.
How did you start out in the industry?
I was drawn to furnishings following the crash in the property market in Europe/US in the early 90s. This resulted in me thinking of something new to do, and my experience in the business of buying, remodelling, and selling properties in London meant that furnishings were a natural extension of what I did best. In 1993 I started Harrison & Gil, selling my first mirror frame at Harrods and in 2006, it was renamed Christopher Guy to include full-line lifestyle furnishing.
When I started in the industry, there were no contemporary, high-end mirror companies in the industry - it was such a specialised category of product. At that time there were only classic designs available, mostly of the Chippendale and Louis IXV style, and there were only a handful of dedicated mirror companies, with most of them copying each other. From there, I progressed to full line furnishings.
What’s been your proudest career moment to date?
I set up my workshop in Java, where some of the world’s finest carvers are based. There are 1,400 of these master craftsmen working with me there and my proudest moment occurs every time I walk down to the workshop and see the designs taking form.
Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The ability to create new business and design concepts excites me the most.
What do you love the most about exhibiting at Decorex? Any exciting new products launching at this year’s show?
In 2012, it will be less about exhibiting products and more about creating an art exhibit. Working on multiple projects in LA and with our involvement in Hollywood, this is the chance for Christopher Guy to bring a little of that Hollywood dramatic flair to Decorex.
Who or what inspires you?
My inspirations have always come from my travels. I believe that internationalisation transcends tradition. It is with an understanding and integration of cultures that form the basis of my designs. There is no particular country’s tradition that I adopt in my designs, as I believe that the understanding of elegance is international and recognisable instantly.
Where do you live and why?
During the early 90s, the furnishing industry in Europe and US showed significant signs of decline and Asia seemed to have the most potential for growth - especially with its vast resources in master craftsmen and materials. Asia was the most logical choice. Java has some of the world finest carvers and the availability of the hardwood was key in setting up there.
I chose to make Singapore my global HQ as it has the proximity to our manufacturing facilities. Singapore is also an ideal country to do business from and this is where I currently live. In addition to our office in Singapore, we also have an office in Dubai that looks after the Middle East markets, an office in London for the Europe market as well as an office in LA for the Americas.
Can you tell us a bit about your own home?
Home is now a 2,000 sq ft high rise apartment with panoramic views of the astonishing Singapore skyline. The beauty of having my own home is the ability to change the look from time to time, until the next idea comes along. Even though this is something that is always evolving, it will always be functional as a home with a Christopher Guy look in the pursuit of elegance.
What are you working on at the moment?
May 2012 saw the opening of the West Hollywood showroom in LA, this will open to the public on 2 July 2012. Besides planning for Decorex, next up we will be opening our 15,000 sq ft NYC showroom at the New York Design Center.
For more information on Christopher Guy, visit the Christopher Guy website.