After building sets for Glyndebourne, top London musicals and Michael Jackson concerts, trained designer Charles Kimpton waved goodbye to his theatrical production company and set up furniture business Leporello, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year.Charles Kimpton, the owner and designer of Leporello furniture, a family business, launched his first collection at the Birmingham Furniture Fair in 1999 and was awarded a Highly Commended Furnishing Industry Award. From there the company has grown steadily each year and now offers a collection of over 250 designs from painted bedroom furniture to dining room and accessories.
First off the production line was the ‘Johann’ bed he made for his daughters when he couldn’t find any good quality furniture for their bedrooms. ‘High volume machinery was behind most of the furniture manufactured in this country, which made it look cheap and basic,’ he says.
Business grew from there and, today, Charles and his small team of craftsmen design, make, paint and hand-finish pieces, from the ‘Lucian’ French Louis-style bed to the ‘Karelian’ contemporary dining furniture, in their bustling Dorking workshop.
‘We are proud to be a British company and believe strongly in supporting British trade,’ says Charles.
Leporello is so much more than the sum of its products. While they offer an exclusive collection of designs – you should think of them more as a service than a manufacturer. Their variety of beautiful paint finishes is just one aspect of their flexibility. They believe in listening to their clients and creating bespoke solutions to individual requirements, be it adapting proportions to fit an awkward space, matching a colour or hand-painting a unique motif on a footboard.
5 Old Char Wharf, Station Road, Dorking, Surrey. 01483 284109 www.leporello.co.uk