A Summer of Luxury Extra | Holiday with… Luxury Leader Gaze Burvill’s Simon Burvill
Walpole’s Summer of Luxury may have ended on Friday, but it proved so popular that we have extended it for one extra day (particularly as the sun is still shining). In the hot seat, for the final time this year, is Simon Burvill, CEO of Gaze Burvill – makers of luxury outdoor furniture and kitchens – who talks about his vision for the brand, what British luxury means to him, and, of course, his holiday read for 2018.
What does British luxury mean to you?
British luxury brings together a flair in design and innovation with exceptional materials, quality, craftsmanship, and a responsive personal service.
What’s your vision for Gaze Burvill?
Over the last 25 years Gaze Burvill has established itself as a market leader for creating British made fine outdoor kitchens and furniture out of oak for discerning clients’ private residences and prestigious public spaces. Drawing on Britain’s longstanding reputation for producing exceptional items for the great outdoors and exporting them worldwide, from Aquascutum to Bulldog Tools, Barbour to Land Rover, we would like to develop our reach beyond the UK and become a global brand.
What do you see as the future of luxury?
People increasingly want to know the stories behind the items they buy – they want to understand that something is made not only with great care but also with every consideration given to ethics and lifestyle choices. It is very heart-warming to meet customers who value the passion and hard work that goes into doing what we do. Buyers of luxury items increasingly care very much about the provenance of the materials which are used and that craftsman-made, well designed pieces also have excellent sustainability credentials.
What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury industry?
Think long term, the finest things are never produced overnight and it often takes years to get things just right – your audience is educated and will appreciate this. Don’t be tempted to dilute the quality of what you do because you fear the market for the very finest things is too small. It’s larger than you think.
In a parallel life what would you be doing?
Spending more in the forest. Woodlands can teach us a lot about timescales often overlooked in the modern era as well has having amazing stories within them. They also play a vital role in the environmental balance of the planet.
What’s your favourite luxury under £10?
After I’ve walked the dog (a free luxury), a locally craft brewed ale, perhaps with a witty name…
What is your holiday read this year?
Munich by Robert Harris – another utterly gripping Harris masterpiece.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Yellowstone was a hit last year, but I also love going to our place in the French Alps – spectacular scenery and plenty to do, and as a bonus all my children (adults, they tell me) still want to go there too!
Have you ever had a lightbulb moment related to your business or career whilst having some downtime?
Yes, holidays are great for those – the idea of studying forestry and furniture-making was mooted while on a skiing holiday and led to a major career change. Mother nature is a constant source of inspiration for design for Gaze Burvill, as so many of the difficulties posed by being constantly outdoors have already been solved by her.
What is your top tip for surviving the summer heat in style?
I completely rely on my trusty panama hat, from Lock & Co, St James, for making me look as if I can handle the heat.
Below: Stay in the shade for a light lunch. The Levity oak outdoor furniture collection from Gaze Burvill stays with the ‘light’ theme with contemporary design from Katie Walker. The scent of summer is heady citrus sweetened by gentle apricot.