Written by Fadzai Kadzatsa

 

Carmel Allen the creative director of Heals, came to speak to us about the their brand; a luxury furniture store that’s concerned  with producing modern efficient designs that work with today’s more modest homes and backing young talented designers. She wanted to highlight to us the reputation that Heals has kept and will continue to keep; past, present and future

Allen began the talk by explaining the history of Heals, from its beginnings with Ambrose Heal. Heals was a furniture designer in the early 20th century and worked under his father in Heals & Son and later went on to take over the company after the death of his father. Initially there furniture did not receive good reviews and was described as ‘prison furniture’. However, the bad reviews were short lived; the furniture produced went on to be exhibited in by the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. By showing us the rich history of Heals, Allen showed us why the company has such a strong history and due to this rich history it has become well respected, similar to the way of old and new money.

Moving on from the history of Heals, we were then led into its current reputation of backing young designers. For instance David Stiener worked in the shop floor for Heals, helping with installation work during the time he was a graphic design student. He went on to be exhibited at Selfridges and Geffrye museum, this while he was still completing his studies. He now works for heals at one of their young designers. This shows showed us how when Heals had a strong belief in you they will continue to give support even after you graduate.

Heals reputation has remained resilient due to the fact they are ethical with their customers and employees and also clever in there marketing and design strategies. Heals is not oblivious to the current standing with homeowners, they understand there are less people moving houses/purchasing homes. So in response to this they ‘move with the times‘ by marketing and designing there furniture so that it is affordable, high quality and unique. While doing this they have stayed with their belief of designing furniture for “small places” and “smart living”