A furniture brand based in Montreal, Canada, Claste's specialty is collectible design and contemporary furnishings. The founding partners Quinlan Osborne, Martin Poitras and Philip Hazan bring to bear their collective professional experience and a carefully selected roster of collaborating artisans. Partner Osborne introduces uninitiated EAL readers to the brand and its aesthetic.
Walk us through the initial founding of Claste. How did you all meet?
The design community in Montreal is relatively small so we all know each other to some degree but the three of us ended up working together on several projects over the years and developed a great working relationship based on mutual respect. The transition into a partnership was a slow one that developed over the course of a few years, many conversations and several trips together to places like the Salone de mobile in Milan and the design week in New York. The origins of Claste is rooted first and foremost in the friendship we have developed and also from the fact that we all share the same vision for what contemporary design can be. To all of us it is important that our brand represents a belief in design being more than surface deep, that it can make you stop and think and offers something a little more complex than the expected experience.
How do you discover the artisans you work with?
All of the artisans we work with are people we have developed relationships with as architects. When we decided to start looking for manufacturers it was obvious to us that all the talent we needed was right here in our own backyard it just needed a little convincing that what we were asking them to do was really just a variantion of what they had always done for us, plus they already understood our obsession with details and perfection from years of working together.
What are your favorite pieces from this initial offering?
All of the pieces in our first collection are there because we believe in them. Each one has its own qualities or aspects that we love, but in the world of furniture design chairs will always be king. To design a successful chair is special in a way that is different from a coffee table or a console and because of that the two chairs [named] "and here I sit" and "how fragile this love" would have to be our favorites so far.
What's next on the brand's horizon?
I think the two things that are most important moving forward are expanding our collection and developing relationships with the design community. Being such a young company—we only launched in May—means that nobody knows who we are, even if they have seen our products on Instagram or in the press they still don't know who we really are and I think that is an incredibly important aspect of our brand. We want the design community to get to know us as people who stand behind what we create and believe in it. Having worked for many years on the other side of the table we understand the need to have trust in the people you work with so it is important to us to get out there as much as possible and develop those relationships on a personal level.