Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” -William Morris, 1834-1896
Wendy Francis-Ching’s inherent love of beautiful craftsmanship and masterful design led to the creation of one of the most affordable high-end furniture destinations in the city.
When she opened the doors to Consignment three years ago, Wendy created a port of call for people just like her—those who appreciate the extraordinary artisanship of contemporary European brands by well-known designers.
Tell us about the concept of Consignment?
It’s designed for people who wish to buy quality furniture but don’t want to pay brand new prices, or are looking for investment pieces that are not available anywhere else here at the moment.
How did you come up with the idea?
Consignment is modelled on consignment stores I’ve seen overseas. It came about when I noticed the number of people with amazing furniture who were moving or changing their interiors, and I wondered what they did with the furnishings that no longer fit the new look or space.
Where do you source your stock?
We work with several interior designers who let people know about us. Word of mouth is powerful too. We had a client who approached us with a container full of beautiful furniture she’d been saving for her children who were overseas. When they came back they brought their own with them; she didn’t know what to do with it but luckily a friend pointed her in our direction. A lot of our stock comes from people in similar positions.
What’s your key point of difference?
We sell investment pieces that last a lifetime and we sell them for approximately half the new price. So, instead of buying something mass produced from a chain store, you can spend a little more and get something that not only serves a purpose but is designed and manufactured with integrity and has longevity.
There’s a component of recycling and sustainability here too, isn’t there?
Definitely. Consignment offers a means of moving furniture from one home to another; reducing waste on one hand, and providing a way of acquiring these much loved designs on the other. This in turn can have a positive impact on the future of our environment. It is also a way of keeping authentic design in circulation—so it’s the best kind of recycling!
Can you tell us about the artworks on the walls?
I’m a big art lover and it’s a passion for everybody involved in Consignment. So, as well as the art that gets consigned with us, we support local artists including Peter Atkinson, Matt Griffin, Meg Tyre, and Rick Everard.
What are some of the brands you have on the floor?
We currently have items from designers and brands such as Arte Veneziana, B&B Italia, Cassina, Driade, Minotti, Norman Foster, Philippe Starck, Vitra, Le Corbusier, and Zanotta, among others. We don’t carry much in the way of accessories but we do have a few items from Versace, Blenko, and Fortuny. We also have an exclusive limited collection of candles from Hotel Costes of Paris.
Your current picks?
There are so many. I particularly love the work of Patricia Urquiola, Antonio Citterio and Philippe Starck and am very happy to have a few of his pieces in the showroom at the moment. It’s no wonder his works are featured at MOMA New York, and the Musee des Art Decoratif, Paris, among others.
We have just received some special Starck pieces that are out of production. The Royalton Hotel in New York City commissioned him to design the interiors and these pieces came from that original concept which was later released by Driade. One of the design companies here imported it for a few select clients. We even have a dining table he designed for the French President Mitterand.
Its examples like these that make Consignment a truly unique buying experience, we receive some remarkable pieces by a myriad of world class design companies and get to offer these to new clients and new homes at very reasonable prices. That’s the best part of the job…it benefits both the consignor and the buyer!