Where We Go

‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things’.
Henry Miller

You are no doubt aware of our love of nature and outside living. But where do we go to find these changing landscapes? What draws us away from our homes and overseas?

Head designer Cathy was born in Tunisia and grew up in the South of France. She feels most at home by the sea or any other natural setting – as a child houses were not important as everyone lived outside. Predictably, she grew up a citizen of the world; confident enough to communicate with the different cultures she experienced from an early age. This connection with local cultures was later to become the inspiration for much of her work. France, and later on Italy, was to become integral to her life – the food, language and life values very similar to her own.

Outside of Europe, Israel is the country Cathy feels a huge emotional affinity with. She says, ‘There is no other tiny or large country in the world with a most superb record of humanity, sensitivity, talents and love and respect for life per capita and at every level’. Visually, she names Sardinia, Mexico and any country that has not been homogenised and where uniqueness still exists. Cathy’s love of individuality is clear – each one of her sculptures and fireplaces is completely individual – like fingerprints, no two are the same.

Like any artist, Cathy is always drawn to places and situations where she can gain vision and grow – sometimes, that can simply be from the comfort of our studio. ‘Influences are everywhere’ is a BD Design mantra.

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Our brand new design – Xandra

We are delighted to have added a brand new design to our indoor fireplace collection – ‘Xandra’.

Cathy was given the brief by a client named Alexandra – create a piece using Triangles shapes, but also evoking the winding roads of a Metropolis. Such was the complexity and delicacy of the brief, Cathy had no choice but to name this piece after its owner, and thus Xandra was born.

Unlike Cathy’s original Triangles piece, the triangles in Xandra freely float, travelling through many different angles – they are not fixed. The curved road flows through them, creating peace and harmony in a world of pointed edges and uniform shapes. The juxtaposition of the floating shapes and their sharp angles gives the sculpture a gentle yet dramatic, almost cubist feeling.

Like our fireplaces, Xandra will not only provide your home with heat, but a beautiful centerpiece that is sure to be a conversation starter.

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The Great Outdoors

We love being outdoors here at BD Designs. Not only does it fuel our inspiration and creativity, but it provides a haven of total silence – and as you can imagine total silence is quite a rare occurrence in our workshop!
Our senses become truly awakened when we step outside. We hear different sounds, see different colours and feel different sensations. Hearing the rustle of leaves or feeling a soft breeze on our skin after a long stint working inside feels almost magical.
Cathy has always preferred being outside to inside. She loves natural spaces rather than manicured gardens and is mesmerised by landscapes both big and small, and would live in her garden if she could! This is where the idea to make her fire sculptures suitable for outdoor use came from – many people enjoy living outside and extending the living area out onto their terraces and patios. ‘The fireplace completes the picture and creates a focal meeting point, just as it does inside the house’, she says.

The feeling Cathy gets when she goes outside resonates throughout her work. ‘Happy, free and elated’. Everything from her sculptures to her furniture has an organic feeling to it; everything is earthy, mostly in neutral colours and free from patterns or uniform regularity. It is so important to her that her work is unique and resembles the wildness of the outdoors that each and every piece is made bespoke – no two pieces will ever be the same. Each one is fashioned with different experiences and visions behind it.
Continuing to rake joy in the Outdoors ensures that Cathy always has a wealth of varied sensations and emotions with which to create her work.

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Sculpture – At The Heart of BD Design

Despite her love of all art, Cathy’s heart has always belonged to the 3-dimnesional world. As a child she would visit the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence every Sunday, walking around each sculpture time and time again to capture the multi-faces of the pieces. Even at an early age she was entranced by the masters of this format – Matisse, Giacometti, Picasso, Miro, Brancusi. As much as she loved paintings, her desire to not only observe but to live with and indeed own sculpture was always clear in her heart and mind.

She began to sculpt herself whilst she was still young, finding great joy in the way the materials she used created textures that so accurately translated her feelings and emotions. Unlike some art forms, the aging process of a sculpture enriches it and adds more life, more power to the overall effect. Two of her favourite artists, Brancusi and Giacometti, she loved for just these reasons – their work does not get old, it just ages and becomes better in time.

Similar to her idols, Cathy’s work conveys emotions, memories, feelings of some sort. There is no limit to shape or size, no need to conform and an active shunning of easy visual thrills.

Cathy says. ‘My late and most respected teacher, Jean Gibson, made a very clear and important point to us, her students: size has a meaning and has to be used with integrity. Before doing a large piece, one should wonder why they choose this scale, and what does it add to the work. My work is not huge, it is in proportion with life, and can be easily integrated in most people homes. I hope my clients will gain endless pleasure from looking at my work, and that their sculptures become a lifetime companion, as a thoughtful friend’.

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Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. Earth. Fire. Beauty. Love. Thoughts. Nature. The city. The countryside. Humans. Light. Love.

The above are a mere suggestion of what inspires Cathy. She was born in Tunisia and as a child lived in France on the island of Porqerolles – she hadn’t yet experienced the northern hemisphere shift in seasons and became fascinated by the change in temperature and natural surroundings.

These changes exposed Cathy to many more organic forms than she was used to; new light, textures and forms unraveled before her. Her next move from France to London stirred her even more – she found power within the city’s industrial landscape, and the seed of conviction that what is functional can also be beautiful was planted.

This epithet is never more accurate that when describing Cathy’s signature designs, her indoor and outdoor fire sculptures. She comments, “The fireplace is central in so many homes and here in the city you can’t have a real fire. The gas imitations were so ugly that I began to think this was somewhere that needed my sculptures. My first designs were very linear, picking up on traditional elements of fire such as sticks of wood and matches. As the designs evolved, so the shapes softened and my current looped range of designs allows the flames to flicker in a series of full circles. The effect is mesmerizing.”

Cathy’s fine art sculptings are more subtle, yet still enriched with symbolism. From totems poles to Ancient Greek villains, her work takes on dramatic yet delicate forms perfect for any setting.

Azria will never mass-produce. She works by establishing a train of thought, then developing and refining it in response to each client’s requirements. Every piece is therefore unique, signed and numbered by its creator.

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The Fireplace

The Fireplace – to you, it might just be a fireplace, but to us that hole in the wall is filled with artistic possibilities.

Cathy’s fascination with flames combines with BD Design’s passion for creating objects inspired by nature to create each of our exquisite Fireplace sculptures. These ‘home bonfires’ have been commissioned for indoor and outdoors spaces in residential homes, in hotels and restaurants, spas and public spaces.

But what inspired Cathy? Her ideas began to evolve when she moved to London from the island of Porquerolles and begun experiencing true northern hemisphere winters and summers.
“The fireplace is central in so many homes and here in the city you can’t have a real fire. The gas imitations were so ugly that I began to think this was somewhere that needed my sculptures. My first designs were very linear, picking up on traditional elements of fire such as sticks of wood and matches. As the designs evolved, so the shapes softened and my current Loop range allows the flames to flicker in a series of full circles. The effect is mesmerizing”.

Each design is unique and infinitely beautiful, to mask a concealed gas burner. Like the aforementioned Loop, influenced by the rings around the planet Saturn, many of Cathy’s sculptures are inspired by nature. Her Metropolis however, pays homage to Fritz Lang’s classic silent film. Tall strips of metal create a skyline in the fireplace – a skyline on fire when the gas flames lick through the metal skyscrapers. “I wanted to bring a focus of fun to the fireplace” explains Cathy “and put a smile on people’s faces”.

Left: Metropolis, Right: Loop

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