together with Ben Hazan
runs Classic Furniture 4 U, a
north London-based company with showrooms and a big Internet
presence. As well as the UK, the company has a big
customer-base in the discerning and quality-conscious
With faithful reproductions of
classics such as the Barcelona Chair or Ball Chairs, along with
numerous other designs of chairs, tables, lighting and other
furniture and accessories, Classic Furniture 4 U is a retro
Here Digger talks to David
about the business.
A variety of classic
designs, including the Barcelona Chair and the Ball Chair
Digger: Hello David
David: Morning David.
Digger: Please tell us about your background and how Classic
Furniture 4U started and evolved into what it is today.
David: I used to be in the
stationery business, which is where we used to supply quite a lot
of furniture as well, as you can imagine.
David: And it just evolved. I
got involved in it with my brother-in-law. We had some
offers of some Classic furniture, and we always liked that kind of
classic furniture. So we just decided to give it a go. We
started off with the Barcelona chairs as they are the most
Digger: Are people buying these to sit in or are they for the
look and for show?
David: I think both. We have a
lot of business in Scandinavia where they love and appreciate their furniture.
But because the law in Scandinavia is that you're not allowed
to sell reproductions until the designer has been dead for
David: ...The same law applies
here but it's only 25 years. So that's a big plus for us,
because we get a lot of Scandinavian people coming over to
Digger: And they're allowed to bring them back?
David: Yes, no problem at all.
Digger: I suppose The Internet helps too I suppose?
David: I would say that The
Internet generates about 60% of the business.
Digger: What is it about the
furniture that appeals to you?
David: The straight lines and the shape
- they're timeless. A lot of people who say "I like that
design" and don't realise that it's from the thirties or forties
and say "What?" They can't believe it really.
Digger: They were pioneers back
then. When you see what they had in a lot of the posh
Hollywood or Mayfair houses - they had all the mod cons we
have now virtually such as waste disposal, freezers,
intercoms, albeit some of them were driven by steam or valves,
Digger: Tell us more about
these authentic reproductions David.
David: We can actually
reproduce them because the licensing has run out and what
we're particularly proud of is the quality. We've always had a
showroom, because a picture on The Internet is a picture on The
Internet. We are very proud of our quality and very careful
with our quality. So much so that there was a write-up about
us in The Times about us which said "The same quality as the
originals at a fraction of the price." It did happen once that
I was offered a whole lot of chairs where we
found a supplier who had the same goods about 20% cheaper. So
we thought that would be good to make an extra 20%. But we
came out with egg on our face due to the fact that the
quality wasn't up to our standard. We're very careful with our quality,
especially when sending abroad, as with returns your profit can get eaten
away very quickly.
Digger: So there's two ways to
buy - from the showroom or via The Internet on the website?
You're not on eBay then?
David: I wouldn't say eBay is
for cheap quality, but it's for the masses and we are actually
driven by our quality.
Digger: Why do you think these
designs stand the test of time even with the younger
generations - they pick up on them as well, don't they?
David: They seem to yes. Because all of the designs are reasonably timeless and we've
had quite a few young people with modern new flats and the
together with the Egg Chairs and the
are very popular.
We've even sold quite a few of the hanging Ball Chairs.
Obviously we tell them that they have to be attached to a
joist, otherwise your neighbour upstairs might be coming down
to join you. (Digger laughs)
Digger: I suppose there must
have been somebody at some point who just put a little
butcher's hook screw in the plasterboard and expected it to
hold? You've got lots of impressive retail customers and lots
of great designer names on there.
David: Yes, we've done quite a
few hotel jobs and we seem to be getting the up-market
developers coming to see us as well. Because they want their
flats to look trendy and classy etc. but why should they spend
£3,000 on a show piece when they can buy it for £700?
Digger: And there's no
discernible difference between the two?
David: Not unless you're an
expert, no. We had a certain gentleman come to see us about a
year ago, parked his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce outside,
came to see our showroom and said "What's the difference
between these Eames chairs and the originals?" And I said
"Actually, not much." He then got into his car and drove back
to Vitra and went to see them and said "How come I can buy
these down the road for £400 and yours are £1,500?" The salesman said
that the only difference might be a little number on the back.
So he got in his car, came back to us and bought four chairs.
Digger: It's a simple choice
really, isn't it? Retro is a big thing
and there's a big increase in the popularity of retro and
vintage with everybody seemingly having some sort of passion
for retro. Why is that do you think?
David: I think it's because
this furniture has simple lines, it's not too busy and not
over the top.
Digger: The only interesting
developments in the nineties and noughties seemed to be to do
with technology. iPads and iPods and iPhones and that sort of
thing. They'll be the retro of the future and not the
David: Yes. These classic
designer pieces are
beautiful, like the classic cars. Even the latest cars - the
Porsches, the Bentleys and so on - they're still the same design
outside but it's the technology inside that's changed.
Digger: The shell and basic
look of these cars stays the
same doesn't it? So what developments have you got there David?
We are in the process of
a new website with other slightly cheaper furniture, not akin
to this. Not designer but funky and fun stuff maybe.
Digger: Who are your customers,
where are they coming from and what sort of feedback are you
David: We get lots of
positive feedback, particularly from Scandinavia.
Digger: That's a recommendation
David: And a lot of word of
mouth. We've got lots of returning customers. And because
people come from abroad, sometimes they come with two families
or friends. And we've got the interior designers with the lifestyle stuff.
Digger: So your customers are
mainly UK-wide and from
Digger: What is the most enjoyable
part of what you do?
David: I like the sales. I
like the fact that people are buying the furniture and
Digger: And meeting the people
when they come into the store, which you would encourage?
David: Yes. I'd rather they
come in and look at the quality rather than they buy them on
The Internet in a way, because we're so proud of the quality.
Digger: And you can strike up a
relationship with them as well.
Digger: What are the future plans
for Classic Furniture 4U David?
David: We've just launched a
new website and we're very excited about that.
Digger: And you're making a go
of it even in this climate.
David: Things aren't as busy
as they used to be in this climate, obviously, but I think that's generally
everywhere. The media actually don't help at all.
Digger: Well, the business looks
very sound and the furniture looks incredible quality and
really beautiful. I'll have to come on down and see it in the
showroom. Thanks David.
David: Thank you.
More classic designs
Based in the UK,
Classicfurniture4u was founded in 2005 by two business
partners who have got 25 years of experience in the
furniture business. As one of the original companies
dealing with the exclusive reproductions of the world
famous designers, we have been successfully supplying our
bespoke products such as The Barcelona Chair, The Egg and
Swan chairs and the Artichoke light throughout the UK,
Scandinavia and Europe, both to individual and corporate
customers. You can find top quality reproductions from the
most famous designers from the past decades at Classic
Furniture 4U.We also pride ourselves with an excellent
customer service team who keep in constant touch with our
customers and keep them fully updated. Customer
recognition of our superb quality and service is the
backbone of our company.
Regarding our corporate
customers they range from famous hotel groups to
restaurants, shopping centres, schools and TV programmes.
etc to name just a few both in the UK and European
With regard to the
reproduction of the products, what the customers are
looking for is the exact reproduction of the original,
thatís what weíve been focusing on. Our purchasing team
work very closely with the factory to constantly improve
the design. All our products are very close to the
original design with the highest possible standards.
Thatís why we have a lot of returning customers
recommending both friends and family.
also have a showroom located in the North west London,
with most of our fabulous designs. All customers are
welcome to check and view and experience the quality of