Garvan de Bruir has established a design and craftsmanship studio in Kildare Town where he specialises in the use of decorative timbers and fine leathers. With these materials his ranges extend from handmade furniture, to leather luggage to technology accessories.
Garvan has won awards in both design and craftsmanship disciplines in the UK and in Ireland. His work in furniture has been exhibited in London, Dublin, Milan and Dubai and his luggage is now being featured in the USA, Japan, Italy and Germany.
The De Bruir collection of leatherwork is very relevant to the studio’s location in Kildare, the equestrian heartland of Ireland. The robust leathers and construction techniques practiced by local saddle makers are very evident in the luggage designs.
All designs are handmade at the studio by Garvan and his small team of craftsmen. The processes include leather selection, cutting the various components to patterns, machine stitching the bags in the flat and then moving to hand-stitching (with brad awl, needle and thread) as the bags start to take shape, finishing and polishing the edges and body of the bags to complete the process.
The heavy duty saddler’s sewing machines are core to each bag construction and one of the satisfying features of the workshop. There is beautiful engineering involved in the various machines to appreciate and enjoy – even before looking at any leather!
The learning experience at the studio is two-fold. The studio’s most commercial output is leatherwork, but other projects include timber architecture, installations and furniture. For leather enthusiasts it is enjoyable to see an artisan studio at work, experiencing the hand tools, sewing machinery, patterns, leathers being used to make the collection.
There are lots of prototypes and mock-ups that demonstrate the evolution of various designs. The collection of bags have become more refined over the years and the development of the designs is really interesting.
The second experience is the environment and the wider design output of the studio. There is a strong emphasis on curving timber architecture around the studio and showroom. The same design style is very evident throughout. The award-winning buildings that house his studio were designed and build by Garvan as was the curving timber swing in the courtyard. A portfolio of the studio’s projects over the years can be seen alongside the various models and sketches that went into their development. Like many young Irish craftspeople, Garvan de Bruir is combining a tradition of craft excellence with contemporary and functional design and competing on an international stage.