Alex Newbery from Sapphire Living Space in Topsham shares her style inspiration with Devon Home
Despite working with many brands, Sapphire Living Space’s style philosophy is simple – to achieve functional elegance. “Whether you are looking for a kitchen or a bathroom, some cutlery of a toothbrush holder, our aim is always the same,” Alex explains. “There is little point in having something beautiful that does not serve a purpose, and why have something useful that you don’t enjoy looking at?” With this in mind, the company has chosen to work with brands that share this philosophy and that complement each other.
Visitors to the showroom often comment on the modern look of Sapphire’s products and are surprised to learn that many designed date back to the 1940’s. With products designed by Hans J Wegner, Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen, Alex admits that her style is influenced by the Scandanavian and mid-century Modernist movements. Jacobsen is famous for his architecture and furniture designs such as the Ant Chair and the Egg Char, but did you know he also designed brassware fro the Danish company Vola?
Verner Overgaard, the owner of Vola, was looking for a designer who could help with his idea for a revolutionary new tap where the mechanical parts were concealed within the wall, leaving only the handle and spout visible. When Jacobsen won a competition in 1961 for his designed of the National Bank of Denmark, Overgaard knew he had found the perfect partner. Vola taps went into production in 1968, and the items found in Sapphire’s showroom remain unchanged from Arne Jacobsen’s original concept.
Sapphire’s bulthaup kitchens also have an interesting history, despite being know the world over for leading innovation. The company was founded in 1949 by Martin Bulthaup; he was succeeded by his son Gerd who became the head of the company in 1978. Gerd has a strong passion for architecture and his vision of expanding Bulthaup to become the market leader in design-orientated kitchens led him to collaborate with Otl Aicher, one of the 20th century’s most influential designers and co-founder of the Ulm School of Design.
This Design School reflected the tradition of Weimar Bauhaus movement and Otl Aicher’s design ideas were largely based on the principles of using simplified forms and functionality. These ideas, along with quality, precision and seamless design solutions, have contributed to the numerous awards bulthaup has earned over the years.
By taking inspiration from these great designers and working with both natural materials and the latest product developments, Alex and the design team at Sapphire aim to provide designs that are approachable and as unique I their clients, while staying sympathetic to the architecture of the surroundings. “Craftsmanship, comfort and clean lines are key to our designs, along with practicality and usability. Our clients have piece of mind that whatever they purchase from us will be of superior quality and elegance that will stand the test of time,” she concludes.