“WE DON’T DO normal,” laughs Manuel Horta, CEO of Insane Luxury Design. The concept behind this acclaimed Portuguese furniture company emerged in 2014, when a group of ambitious designers were mulling over their competition at an international trade show. “We saw a huge market for luxurious design,” he says. “We knew we could take it to another level.”
Based in the Portuguese city of Porto – itself a thriving design hub – Insane Luxury Design today enjoys a reputation for creating statement showpieces. This is thanks in no small part to Insane Luxury’s designers, whose understanding of what clients want is unsurpassed. “We deliver an exceptional level of service,” says Manuel.
In the company’s singular designs, inspired creativity meets dedicated craftsmanship; each piece is hand-made in Portugal by carefully selected artisans. “Our furniture is like jewellery,” says Manuel, “because each piece is unique and exclusive, made specifically with the client in mind.” All the senses are considered. “For example,” he says, “how do we make the sound of cabinet doors opening and closing as pleasing as possible?”
The geographical destination of the piece is integral to its design. For the market in Asia, due to the heat and humidity, furniture makers need to apply special treatments to protect the piece. Similarly, if a piece is going to sit by a window, it will need special protection, and if a dark product is destined for a dark corner, the company will advise on lighting or repositioning. “It’s not just about us creating a beautiful piece,” says Manuel. “We’re helping our clients create a beautiful space. It’s why we are meticulous. We guarantee perfection.”
With a remit as broad as this, a single company aesthetic might seem hard to pin down. “Our style influences are varied,” says Manuel. “We stay abreast with upcoming trends and aware of our competition.” But a genuine love of art unites the company’s designers, commercial team and marketing team. “We go to galleries and exhibitions together so we can see what is happening in the contemporary art world and how we can apply it,” he explains. “It’s a similar endeavour; we aim to create unique yet commercially viable pieces.”
An acute understanding of the world’s different and diverse markets is key to the company’s success. Working principally with visionary interior designers, Manuel notes that Asian clients often favour bold finishes, shining golds and sparkling silver. By contrast, European audiences lean towards clean, less exuberant designs. “And in America, anything goes!” says Manuel. “They like simple pieces that are very well finished, but there is also an appetite for decadence – so we create furniture to attract the attention of different customers.”
Customization follows, whereby clients specify their preferred finishings and materials. “We really do insane luxury, working for clients that sit above the norm,” says Manuel. “These exclusive buyers are drawn to unique, impactful design and work with us to create pieces they love.”
The brand’s personality goes into every piece. “We produce furniture that people talk about,” says Manuel. “We don’t restrain our designers to creating work that is easy to sell. We produce one-off statement products for high-end environments, and we know that our furniture is always going to be the centre of attention.”