The Shanghai Story
Made in China. It doesn't sound very good, does it? That's what we thought until we went there. It first started years back with our Charlie sending out his beautiful old French bed to copy. He sat in a B & B for a week waiting for the result which was not only stunning, but also an improvement on the original: solid oak, nicely weathered with lovely hand carved details meaning no two would ever be completely identical. Since then we have built up a Loaf team out in China headed by our own leap-frog champion, Ling Ling.
Most of the craftsmen are graduates of a wood carving school where they learn ancient skills which were once the preserve of French artisans – skills all but now lost in the West. To watch them at work is rather like what it must have been like walking round a Renaissance furniture-makers. They are a happy bunch with a real can-do attitude who are obsessed with making our furniture just right.