Local craftsmanship and left-field art find a new niche
Those who shop at Laz Emporium in Soho follow a certain lifestyle. “Left to centre” is how founder Steve Lazarides would describe it. These are folk who enjoy art by the likes of Jake Chapman, Kid Noble, Banksy and Ewen Spencer. “I had the desire to reinvent the 18th-century emporium,” he says, on what led him to set it up.
Laz Emporium is an art exhibition and store, but recently, Lazarides decided he should be offering furnishings, too. He turned to his group of artists to see if they were creating anything in this field, but soon realised that “there wasn't any home furnishings and furniture that existed with this aesthetic.”
Having identified a gap in the market, Lazarides wanted to do something different. So, he gave a handful of his artists carte blanche to create a collection of pieces including tables, sofas, wallpapers and fabrics.
All of the products are made locally and celebrate local craftsmanship in Lazarides’ hometown of Bristol. “A space came up that was two-and-a-half miles from the wood that my grandfather looked after – he was a wood warden,” he shares. While Lazarides has lived an undoubtedly urban lifestyle, he was drawn back to the wood; he finds seeing the production from timber to finished piece particularly satisfying.
“I like to continue to surprise people,” Lazarides says, of his move into home furnishings and interiors. The art is evident in the pieces, too – see prints on fabrics, and wallpapers derived from imagery from his archives. Who are these pieces for? “People with an esoteric bent and a love of art.”