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The Elegy Brand Furnishing Company is the furniture design and manufacture arm of England's famous Alchemy studios. Elegy specialise in realising the grotesque, fantastic, and decadent in wood - though the only true limits on form are the character of the media employed, and imagination and daring of the client. Thus far, Elegy has concentrated on exclusive commissions taken from private customers. Those interested in employing the studios formidable design and craftsmanship facilities, are encouraged to contact us directly to discuss your requirements. You'd be amazed what can be achieved. There are also plans afoot to launch a range of ready-made Gothic furniture, which will be more affordable than its custom-made equivalent, and a number of successful prototypes have already been completed.

It was perhaps inevitable that the Alchemy studio would eventually start working in wood. Co-founder and head designer Geoff Kayson had been a qualified carpenter many years back, before disillusionment with the slapdash standards then common in the trade convinced him to explore new opportunities. Yet Geoff retained a deep affection for working with the organic medium of wood. Like so many interesting ideas, the Elegy Brand began as idle speculation over a beer or two. Geoff was in New York on business when he went for a drink with a local Polish-born designer, and the pair hatched a plan to create something substantial to showcase the Alchemy jewellery studio's aesthetic. By the early hours, this had become a coffin cocktail cabinet, fully-articulated to serve drinks to suitably impressed clients at Alchemy events. Surprisingly, perhaps, the ambitious idea survived the cold light of day, and Geoff resolved to realise the project upon his return to England.

However, hard as he tried, Geoff found the same disappointing standards among local carpenters and cabinet-makers he remembered from his youth, none of whom seemed up to the challenge. So, at the advice of his friend from New York, he travelled to Poland to the town of Kalwaria, a centre for local craftsmen in wood. While the workshops were primitive by modern standards, the cabinet-makers still had the traditional skills required for the project, and Geoff secured the services of a craftsman who specialised in renovating the ornamental woodwork in the numerous cathedrals and churches of southern Poland. Geoff provided the craftsman with all of the material he needed - from sketches and blueprints to scale models - and the macabre cocktail cabinet gradually began taking shape under Geoff's watchful eye on numerous visits to the Kalwaria workshop.

The finished product more than justified all of the effort and expense, as those who witnessed its show-stopping debut can attest. Carved from solid oak, the coffin lid rises silently under hydraulic power on four Corinthian pillars, to reveal the serving area, though customers are often too stunned to order a drink in the wake of such funereal elegance.

The success of the coffin cocktail cabinet caused quite a stir, and the interest generated demanded a successor for the project. The opportunity arose when an Alchemy customer from Germany approached the studio about helping to furnish his new house in authentic Gothic-revivalist style. After lengthy discussions with the client, and numerous proposals and sketches had travelled back and forth, they agreed upon a seven-piece dining room suite, carved in solid oak in a flamboyant style fit for a Carpathian count.

Once more, crafting the project was a protracted process, with Geoff personally overseeing every aspect, providing blueprints, plans and even full scale models of sections, in order to ensure the finished product was an exact three-dimensional manifestation of the sketches his client had approved. Once again, the results were spellbinding. Surrounding a 12-foot table are six side chairs, with an imposing 'prince of darkness' throne at its head, and a more delicate throne for his princess to sit opposite. To complete the effect, the chief throne was embellished with three full-scale resin skulls, achieving an effect that makes the most extravagant Hammer horror sets look understated by comparison. The client was delighted, and the clear success of this new venture convinced Geoff that Alchemy required a whole new identity under which to undertake such fantasia in wood, and thus the Elegy Brand Furnishing Company was born.