Defining Customisation + Design: Arthur G

We speak a lot about celebrating the possibility of individual customisation. But while market demand continues to rise, Arthur G asks us: are we really putting our money where our mouth is?

“There is something uniquely special about the refining of skills and the passing of knowledge over time”, according to Leonard Georgopoulos. As Managing Director of Arthur G, his words could not be more accurately reflected by the brand’s history. Maintaining their commitment to finesse of craftsmanship and expertise in design since day one back in 1979, Arthur G has become synonymous today for the faultless synthesis of craft and business, form and function.

Where others repeatedly falter – and some sadly fail – Arthur G has demonstrated that industry nous of such a calibre can only stem from a completely integrated, holistic brand service. Stretching far beyond drafting table at one end, and client delivery at the other, the brand is “borne out of a deep passion […], a dedication to uncompromising manufacturing standards”. As a GECA certified manufacturer, the team proudly hold accountability as core to the design process. A pledge, that is, to unerring manufacturing processes that also integrates the responsible and considerate disposal of waste products, and the championing of sustainability from materiality to production – a notable feat for this boutique design house, manufacturing out of Melbourne for almost 40 years.

It’s this very quality of vigilance – a distinct orientation to the ecology of capital-D Design – which speaks so much to the vow of fulfilling design specifications to a point of absolute precision. But with ‘precision’ in form comes ‘flexibility’ in application: a balancing act which, today, the industry is fain to characterise in shorthand as ‘customisation’. It’s certainly one of those buzzwords that is thrown around with far too much reckless abandon. And, like most buzzwords, many have begun to notice that it promises far more than it can seem to deliver. Offer a choice of two finishes, three colour-ways and a secondary height-by-length option, and all of a sudden a design (apparently) is a masterpiece of customisation.

While our designers are complaining more and more about the ever-increasing difficulty of working with brands that – irrespective of how much ‘customisation’ newspeak they like to spin – have in reality very finite options, the consumer market is also beginning to feel the frustration of trying to source products that truly afford individuals the freedom to tailor designs to their understandably specific needs. This is the climate in which the design team at Arthur G approached Alexander Lotersztain. The resulting collaboration is an innovative response to addressing the fullness and depth of what customisation in design can and always should comprise: flexibility, modularity, functionality and (the all too easily overlooked) idiosyncrasies of our individual tastes.

After lengthy analysis between the Arthur G team and Lotersztain on the key factors of form and function across a variety of potential commercial or residential applications, Ofset was born. Comprising a suite of movable modules, Ofset is equally bold and efficient. Beginning with a base (made from the signature American Oak or Victorian Ash for which Arthur G is renowned), users can decide their own tonal schemes, subtract and/or add seat, arm, and back elements upholstered in any fabric the heart desires to be configured in any way our spaces demand.

This degree of creative freedom remains to be quite uncommon across the A+D community. While ‘custom’, ‘alteration’ and ‘flexibility’ remain watchwords in the industry, balancing the volume of manufacture with market demand frequently baulks the possibility of versatility and adaptability in the design process.

In a world of mass manufacture, throwaway culture and extremely fast moving consumption, Arthur G stands for something more tangible: the distinction between craft and finish over speed and volume, of quality over quantity, of the individual over the trend, and of the timeless over the ephemeral.

Arthur G
arthurg.com.au