A CLYDEBANK cabinet maker whose work appears in the iconic Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is helping champagne sales bubble at one of Glasgow’s favourite restaurants.

James Powell, founder of cabinetmaker Atelier James on Hamilton Street, was called in to create a bespoke champagne trolley for the Anchor Line in Glasgow city centre as part of a move to elevate the experience for diners at the St Vincent Place venue.

The ‘functional and elegant’ trolley – made from American Black Walnut with custom brass fittings and wheels – has been designed to house a Laurent Perrier champagne bucket, with custom placeholders for serving designs to fit the Anchor Line’s signature champagne flutes.

And James – who only took up cabinet-making part-time as part of a career change ten years ago – admitted it was some of his toughest work to date.

He said: “The biggest challenge with making the champagne trolley was to create something functional and elegant but also extremely robust to withstand the demands of a thriving restaurant – a bit like making a very beautiful tank.

“It was definitely one of the most challenging projects I have been tasked with and I think it is probably my favourite and most rewarding piece I have created.”

The trolley is part of a special ‘champagne service’ delivered by trained staff at the Anchor Line serving the perfect glass of champagne to diners, and the impact has been notable.

The Anchor Line now offers a range of Laurent Perrier Champagnes by the glass from rose cuvee through to Blanc de Blanc, with sales of the premium product surging by more than 40 per cent on the previous month, and more than 50 per cent YOY since the introduction of the service.

Ross Wilson, general manager at the Anchor Line, said the sales spike was significant – but is even more happy at the elevation of experience for customers, and their reaction.

He said: “Ordering champagne is one of the most special elements of dining out, and we wanted to create an experience that matches up.

“High-quality food and drink is, of course, the staple of eating out, but ‘micro experiences’ like our champagne service put high-quality service back at the heart of it.

“These approaches are not new but have perhaps been forgotten in the modern hospitality climate. The response since we brought it in has been amazing, and it’s thanks in no small part to James’ incredible trolley, which takes the services to another level.”

James, who used to work in the hospitality industry, has been making furniture for almost a decade, initially training part-time with an antique dealer who also restored furniture in Australia, which inspired him to change direction in life and become a cabinet maker as a career.

On returning to Scotland he took on a course in furniture making and landed a bench with another furniture maker, Thomas Deeprose who has a converted church in Clydebank, before founding Atelier James.

He now operates from his own premises in Clydebank and works with some of Glasgow's finest interior designers, architects and businesses as well as one of the world’s most renowned photographers.

James said: “I have a special display case housing some of Ashley Gilbertson of VII Agency’s photography in the Smithsonian, New York.

"It was for his book Bedrooms of the Fallen – so you could say I have worked at the Smithsonian.

"The whole thing has been an amazing journey, and I really don’t think I’d do anything else now.”

Atelier James is a small Scottish furniture company dedicated to the creation of well-crafted timeless designs, working with top designers, artists and architects around the globe to create and realise commercial projects including kitchens, restaurants and homes.

To find out more about Atelier James, visit atelierjames.co.uk.