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Behind the design:

Simple. Honest. Shaker.

Shaker-style. A 'look' that's so often referred to but what do we actually mean when we say Shaker?

You'd be surprised how many people answer that question, somewhat confidently, with "well it's a cream kitchen with wooden worktops." Firstly, they may well be right, a Shaker-style kitchen could well end up with pale paintwork and an oak work surface, but that's not the driving force behind this design aesthetic. Forget colour and materials, Shaker furniture found its feet in religion.

Officially called the, ahem, United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming, the Shakers are a breakaway sect of the Quakers who formed their own religious group in colonial America back in 1744. Shakers were more than great believers of simplicity and care, they considered it a form of prayer, and so they began designing their own style of furniture with a laser-sharp focus on pared-back forms, zero ornamentation and a rooting in utter practicality. When a new furniture form came into being, it will have started with the question: do we need this? In that sense, it's rather like the declutter campaign being championed by Marie Kondo today. Everything had to have a function and decoration was deemed entirely unnecessary. And because their commitment to simplicity and quality was understood to be a testament to God, every single thing the Shakers made was of the highest possible quality.

Two famous Shaker sayings.

"Whatever is fashioned, let it be plain and simple and for the good"

"Beauty rests on utility"

21st–century Shaker

There's one key thing that's changed with Shaker style in today's world - popularity. At the time, Shaker furniture wasn't adored by the masses in the way that it is today. It's long been celebrated in our kitchens, helping to reduce fuss in probably the busiest room of the home, but it's only in recent years that its resurgence is being felt from room to room. In today's hectic world where we have so much choice, so many design influences, and so much pressure, the desire for back-to-basics design has become all the more attractive.

Fashion has felt the Shaker influence too, falling for its simple tailoring and strong lines and introducing asymmetric cuts for intrigue in the same way the Shakers did. Literature has been born based on 'Shakerism' like the slow-life magazine, Kinfolk. And in the land of interiors we feel a deep respect for furniture that's made thoughtfully, with functional form and proportions, and from exquisite materials. We, individuals and companies, feel inspired by the religious sect's guiding principles of simplicity, utility and honesty. If anything, the Shaker movement is more relevant to today than it was to 18th century America. And that's something we're 100% a-ok with.

Inspired by Shaker.
Signature designs by Neptune influenced by the iconic Shaker movement.

Our celebration of all things