Design without compromise
Combining Graham's experience as an industrial design consultant with Shan's background in financial analysis, founding Niche London as their own company allowed the duo to follow their creative convictions without compromise.
"The designs usually come from something we want ourselves," says Shan. "We're trying to create something a bit special, something that people can't really find in the marketplace. It might be lower turnover, but we'll have a strong sense of identity."
"This is why we call ourselves Niche," explains Graham. "We're not trying to design something so that everybody will like it. Instead we try to do things that we love and hopefully we'll find that somebody else loves it too."
Each design in their furniture collection is a clear expression of a simple idea. "I always make reams and reams of sketches on paper because when you design one thing, you always have loads of other ideas around it," says Graham. "I save them and hope that one day I can come back to explore each idea individually."
Once the concept is firmed up he begins to model the design using CAD modelling software, manipulating the form on-screen until it feels just right. Niche London produces each piece in modest batches of 20-30 and they try to keep manufacturing close to home wherever possible.
Niche London's design studio is located at the listed Hornsey Town Hall in the north of the city. It was the first major building in the UK to be constructed in the Modernist style when it was completed in 1935 and retains most of the original interior decor.
Today the building regularly plays host to hollywood actors when used as a filming location, but also houses a variety of artists and designers' studios, including Graham and Shan's own workspace in a former clerk's office. "It feels good to be part of that community," says Graham. "There's lots of energy around and there's always something going on."
We're not trying to design something that everybody will like. We try and do things that a few people will love