Once associated with Louis XVI and traditionally used in cabinet making, marquetry has a reputation of being an old fashioned craft. Although the skill dates back to the 16th century, cutting-edge, 21st century designers will tell you it’s anything but old fashioned.

The art has been given a new lease of life by modern designers like Bethan Laura Wood and David Linley. The boundaries of marquetry are increasing and designers are changing people’s perception of this beautiful craft.

Changing perceptions

Bethan Laura Wood’s ‘Hard Rock’ collection was designed to evoke a slice of landscape, the form played with the ambiguity of the nature environment. Inviting the user to explore the shape rather than being told the exact use for each section. The furniture uses a marquetry technique to celebrate all the different qualities of the standard laminates used, treating each one like a rare wood veneer rather than a ‘cheap’ substitute.

Laminate marquetry, Birch Ply and powder coated steel

Founded by David Linley in 1985, LINLEY has a world renowned reputation for fusing innovative design with superlative cabinet-making where marquetry is at the company’s core.

An exquisite music cabinet, hand crafted by Linley and featuring their signature marquetry

SO Creative had the pleasure of working alongside LINLEY to create a luxury coffee table book and clamshell box for Decca Luxe – part of the Universal Music Group. An exquisite music cabinet, hand crafted by Linley and featuring their signature marquetry, reflects the passions and promotes a lasting tribute to Pavarotti’s unparalleled vocal skill. Secret compartments hide treasures within and only 71 music cabinets are being produced – one to mark each year of the Maestro’s life. See more about this project here.

Moynat, a luxury Parisian leather house, has introduced leather marquetry to their collections. Using precision and skill, Moynat’s master craftsmen piece together the beautiful, humorous designs to produce unique, elegant creations. The pieces are assembled with such perfection that they just blend into one another…

Mixing an old craft with a modern material

When we were asked to create concepts for a luxury book and box design to promote luxurious super yacht JOY, we wanted to reflect the artistry and craftsmanship that went into the design of the yacht interiors.

Taking into consideration the modern, sleek design of the yacht, we combined the intricate, traditional craft of marquetry with modern materials to produce a stunning one-off prototype. A slip case box format constructed from thick diamond polished acrylic is juxtaposed with marquetry featuring inlaid mother of pearl combined with silver nickel.

The specific bay leaf tree pattern was strongly influenced by panel designs within the yacht itself

The most common and traditional material used for marquetry is wood, however, in order to represent JOY’s clean, smooth lines we opted for acrylic, a material not previously tested by us or our skilled craftsmen. Painstakingly created, our marqueter spent many hours creating this wonderful masterpiece. Nothing quite beats the beauty of knowing something has been lovingly handmade.