A Bespoke Commission For The Ivy
As well as creating our fine jewellery collections, a lot of our work comes from bespoke commissions, where we create a totally unique piece from scratch for a client. Many of these are personal clients, but we also get corporate commissions where businesses contact us to create something special for them.
So when the head office of The Ivy restaurants got in touch, to ask us to create a bespoke commission especially for them, we were thrilled. They wanted us to design and make some Ivy leaf shaped bronze key fobs, as a special gift for the VIP customers at their St John’s Wood restaurant.
If you’ve ever visited one of the Ivy restaurants, you’ll know they are super stylish - with their art deco interiors, amazing flower arrangements and totally Instagram-able loos. We’d never eaten at the Ivy ourselves, but knew all about the brand and the famous flagship restaurant in London’s West End, a favourite hang-out of all the big stars of stage and screen. Everyone from Bradley Cooper and Tom Cruise, to Emma Thompson and Benedict Cumberbatch has been spotted there. You can understand why we were very pleased to be chosen for this exciting project - with its added sprinkle of stardust!
As with all our bespoke commissions, the process started with a chat with The Ivy team to discuss the design they wanted for the key rings. Their head office is based just around the corner from our London club, so it was simple to meet. They chose us for the commission because we share the same postcode and they were impressed with our 5 star reviews.
Jana made the initial drawings. She then carved different versions of an Ivy leaf in wax and Ross made an ivy leaf pierced out of thick brass sheet to give an idea what the weight would be like. Each design was slightly different: bigger leaf, smaller leaf, more veins, different writing placement... Every tiny tweak The Ivy team asked for was taken into consideration, we made the changes and the samples went back and forth until they were totally happy with the design.
Once we had created the perfect leaf, the wax master was then sent off for casting and we were sent back 100 of the leaves, cast in bronze. We then had to clean each leaf up, polish it and then oxidise every one to give the unique antique finish the team at The Ivy had requested.
Finding the matching chain and keyring was really tricky as nobody makes them in bronze. We had to scour dozens of craft websites and eventually we managed to find some brass fittings. They weren’t quite the right shade, so we had them plated to match the Ivy leaf castings. Ross then engraved each of the key fobs with a number and ta-dah, they were complete. Lots of work to do when you’re a team of two!
Once we’d completed the commission we decided to celebrate with a trip to our local Ivy restaurant, just along the coast from Jana Reinhardt HQ in sunny Brighton. If you’re in the area and you haven’t been there, you must make the trip. As design lovers we were blown away by the layer upon layer of detail everywhere we looked. It’s all very Art Deco, which we both love. And the beautiful loos are something else, you can totally understand why people spend so much time trying to get the perfect selfie in there (not that we joined in with them, honest!)
All the food was delicious, with amazing presentation. We would recommend the famous melting chocolate bombe dessert in particular – so good. As we were the VIPs that evening (or so the waitress said, cue fits of laughter from us, that’s totally not how we see ourselves!) we had a bottle of champagne and the Ivy very kindly picked up the tab at the end. A total surprise and a lovely gesture, the perfect end to a really special commission.
We love the nature of bespoke work, as we get to make such varied pieces for our clients. If we had to choose a dream corporate commission, it would be to create something for Astrid and Gaston, the most famous restaurant in Lima, Peru.
If you follow our work, you’ll know we designed a whole collection – Amazonia- around the creatures and plant life of the Amazon. We’ve never made the trip there, so a business trip to work on a design for them would justify all those air miles - and hopefully we’d have enough time to take a trip into the rainforest too.