a purist, who found, bartered and borrowed original french café or garden pieces, adrian hope began his garden furniture business in a disused cold storage room in cape town. both triumph and disaster emerged from this curious choice of workshop, as he endeavored to copy the originals to exactness. being enveloped in the romance of true craftsmanship drove him to produce an entirely hand made product, taking it as far as having metal components cut to imperial measurement. so what inspired a person to take a mechanized product from the turn of last century and painstakingly saw every oak slat by hand?
“i was in d.h. lawrence state of mind!” he explains.
the impracticality of these methods soon became apparent and a more mechanized product had to evolve. the search for a person with the same attention to detail and aesthetic perseverance led him into a partnership with david timothy, the engineer responsible for the outstanding metalwork. part of an alliance which doggedly believes in ‘doing it yourself’, david has manufactured many of the machines responsible for turning out curves and scrolls. most impressive are the turned edges on the metal table tops, created on his large looms.
the company now employs a number of people at their factory, this workforce is one of the means by which, ironically, the product is returning more to its roots of manufacture, as it becomes more modernized. metal is both machine and hand-forged and timber prepared by machine, but assemblage remains by hand, using hammer anvil and rivets. welding is limited to ‘invisible’ delicate areas. adrian has persevered with the use of an oil paint, which most resembles the old lead paints, giving it a patina similar to those of yesteryear, as well as durability outdoors, with its ability to expand and contract according to the weather.
the design of new pieces is more than a matter of form follows function as smaller details support the overall design. this attention to design and proportion is also visible in the rendition of standard pieces. both men joke about their design process, which does not involve computer packages as bits of cardboard and matchsticks have initiated many a table that bears a summer sunday lunch.
the company has moved form oak to a hardy and affordable locally forested timber, karri gum (eucapyptus myrtaceae) for the chairs. along with sandstone, the tops have seen a re-introduction of timber in the form of two australian gums, jarrah, for outdoors and tasmanian oak, for indoors. the beauty of the outdoor hardwoods is in the silvery grey hue of its weathered state, similar to aged teak. those preferring the timber to conceal its age can opt for an oiled finish. (or paint on the chairs.) regularly oiling a ‘hope’ furniture piece becomes a pleasurable diversion with the envirotouch pronature products we use.
hope is proud of its endeavour to remain an entirely south african company, from the use of local products to the manufacturing process in cape town.