Daniel Lobato qualified as a Chartered Architect in 2011, his architectural journey has taken him all over the world working as far afield as Nation Viney in Sydney, to Fosters & Partners in London. Dan loves minimal, Scandinavian design, and this is always a key concept in his designs.
When it came to converting the basement of his Devon home into his own architectural practices studio, it was vital the tight space was maximized. Dan had a clear vision of how he would like to utilize the space but found nothing on the market to fit. And so, as the age-old entrepreneur story goes, he created it himself.
Made in Ply, formerly Custom Desk Ltd was launched the day Daniel’s first son was born in 2013, so it was a heady start working around the schedule of a newborn. A large bespoke desk order from Motorola gave a much-needed financial and confidence boost in those early days, and business has been growing ever since. Dan was right to believe other people might desire his desk designs, and it's his skills as an experienced architect and 3D visualizer which made the business and designs unique. As a lead designer - with a sometimes neurotic need to keep his own desk minimal - there are an array of cable management solutions and power docks available.
The mix of clients has been a surprise to Dan. “I had a gut feeling that the desks would be a hit with designers like myself, and small to medium architectural practices have been key clients from day one. But it’s the home office which has really taken off. The trend for people needing a decent space to work from home – whether that’s one day a week out of their office job, or as a budding entrepreneur creating their own business, has been huge. The fact people can have a bespoke, made to measure desk for their home office space is priceless. Client’s can be creative with their homes, finding previously redundant spaces to create their little haven. Maybe it’s converting the cupboard under the stairs, or erecting a wall to wall desk in the spare room. Any nook is a possibility when you’re looking at made to measure furniture.”
The design service Dan offers is second to none. He can look at your floor plan for an office fit-out and design desks to maximize space in the most efficient manner. Alongside the home office desks, office fit-outs and bespoke desk orders such as the complicated design for Motorolla (which incorporated power outlets and shelving), Dan has also been commissioned to create a reception display stand for a London publishing house. Having personally visited the site, he created a large display unit which consisted of plywood and metal shelves which fit seamlessly around a low rise wall and sloping floor. The bespoke unit now stands proud in the entrance lobby of the West End building.
Dan has extended his desk designs to include custom-built shelving and bespoke storage units. His shelf bracket design is the sort of product you would assume could be easily sourced, but in fact, Dan had trouble finding a bracket like it. His design is a brushed metal simple bracket, devoid of fancy detailing but light and modern in appearance. Like every design Dan fathoms, it is born of a desire to keep things minimal.
Dan is continuing to build his collection of pre-designed products, to enable the client to easily select a product vis the website, and customise it to their size and needs. With this concept, every space in the house can be maximised.