The best of the luxury brands do so much more than create a pleasing environment. They are a portal through which we are offered tantalising glimpses to a parallel universe, one where we often long to reside.
That has always been the joy of Talisman. It is not so much an antiques emporium as the glamorous intersection between vintage, antiques, interiors and fashion. Enthusiastically and joyfully championing pieces that are more about personality than provenance. This is of course down to the inspired eye of founder Ken Bolan, who launched the original Talisman [in Somerset] in 1982 on his return from Switzerland, where he and his wife, Yolie, had opened their first antiques shop 10 years’ earlier. So successful did the Talisman formula prove to be – every piece a star – that in 2006 Bolan opened Talisman London in a converted art deco garage on the New King’s Road.
It would be wrong, however, to think that Talisman only concentrates on decorative impact. Tour the enchantment or its’s iconic showroom and you will find pieces of exceptional quality, including works by great 20th-century masters such as Paul Evans, Karl Springer, Tommi Parzinger and Pierre Cardin. Bolan was among the first of the current crop of dealers to recognise the genius of Evans and has seen prices for the designer-maker go stratospheric in comparison to a decade ago. It is a testament to Bolan’s love of such masterful craftsmanship that the Talisman workshops are almost unique in the highly sympathetic restoration work they undertake.
In fact the Talisman workshops are at the very heart of the business – the company is rightly proud that it out-sources nothing. Most of them are still located in the West Country, close to the original store, and offer a range of craft skills that verge on the medieval, including cabinet making, stone masonry, bronze casting and wood turning. There are specialists for every kind of ornamentation imaginable, with Talisman lacquerwork, for example, being arguably the best of its kind in the UK (it took three years of effort before Bolan was happy with the finish achieved).
Talisman Bespoke is also a direct result of the talent that has been nurtured within the workshops. At the heart of this label is the company’s own range of beautifully upholstered furniture, the majority of which are special commissions made to an individual purchaser’s specific requirements and designed to give pleasure over many decades in the same way a Savile Row suit or a pair of hand-made shoes might be. The core line of nine signature designs is currently being expanded to meet the demand Talisman Bespoke has engendered both from private customers and interior design professionals, who recognise the importance of buying furniture that has been truly made to last in a world too often dominated by a throw-away culture. To view the full twenty piece Bespoke collection go to the Talisman website.