x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Noel Duigan chairs make for classic statement furnishings

With detailed frames and fun, graphic fabrics, the designer's pieces are gaining popularity around the world.

"It's usually the classic baroque style armchair with a black high-gloss frame that sells the most consistently," Noel Duigan says. Courtesy of Noel Duigan

I guess it all started in 2005, when I saw a picture of a chair from the Sixties and thought it looked pretty cool.

It was a baroque style chair with some funky styled fabrics. I spent about three months scouring the internet trying to see if anyone was creating furniture like this and I could only find one team in the UK.

Having established that I was heading into a niche area with limited competition, I wanted to find out why there was so little competition. Was it because it wasn't of interest to anyone, because no one had thought of it, or because someone had started but failed due to a lack of public interest?

So the next logical step was market research. I got out there and asked everyone I knew what they thought of it and, more so, whether they would buy one. There's a big gap between people liking an idea and wanting to part ways with their hard-earned cash for it. The general consensus was if I hit the right price point then it had the possibility to succeed.

From there I delved into manufacturing, which was a new process for me. That was the biggest learning curve, by far.

I went from a conceptual idea on paper to sourcing all the ingredients I needed to make it into a tangible product. Seven years of trial and error later, and I am still learning. It's just me, by myself, doing the whole business - front and back of house.

Having gone from an idea in my head to now having my chairs stocked in three different continents, sold in Park Avenue and Hamptons in New York, is a bit of a highlight for me, and a real personal achievement.

When it comes to biggest-selling items, anything with comic strips on it usually sells pretty quickly. It's usually the classic baroque style armchair with a black high-gloss frame that sells the most consistently. The more outlandish ones, while fun to make, don't often find a place in contemporary homes.

So far I have been playing around with graffiti art on the chairs, which was quite big in the USA last year. I am also looking at hand detailing the frames, and also working on acrylic chairs and wall art.

Book an appointment to see the Noel Duigan collection by emailing info@noelduigan.com. For more information, visit www.noelduigan.com or call 050 453 3952.