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Spring 2013

Melbourne Design Now Design and Manufacturing Forever Young Luxmy Furniture Talking Business Dessein Furniture Scrapbook Owen and Vokes and Peters

INSPIRATION / IDEATION / DESIGN / INNOVATION / INDUSTRY


editors’ letter THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.

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Let’s avoid the race to the bottom on price – there’s enough cheap junk in the world already.

his issue is dedicated to the entrepreneurial men and women working to build opportunity within the furnishing sector. The good news is that there are great companies out in industry succeeding right now; we profile some of them in the following pages. There is much to learn from these pioneers who are persevering, breaking ground, finding new niches and bringing new products and ideas into reality. Success is as much about hard work as it is about restraint, focus and good ideas. There is a recurring theme within this issue – to remain competitive and relevant in an ever-changing marketplace, Australia’s furnishing industry (and industry generally) needs to be innovating, competitive on design and quality, focused on specific niche markets, and remain agile in response to the vagaries of the industry. Let’s avoid the race to the bottom on price – there is enough cheap junk in the world already. Our business profiles, features and interviews all enunciate the central message of resilience, as we continue to gather insights into what is working for leading businesses, we see a consensus emerging around the need for manufacturing and design sectors to collaborate more deeply, and even merge into one highly innovative multi-facetted production sector. Perhaps this is inevitable, an evolutionary principle called ‘survival of the fittest’. Good design as a central pillar to success and competitiveness for Australian industry. Innovative capabilities, craft skills and technical knowledge embedded within industry are equally vital resources for designers to realise their creative vision. More than ever specifiers (architects, designers and consumers) have a unique opportunity to pour fuel onto the spark of local innovation. Play your part in this story! There is optimism about. Even in the face of many challenges, some Australian brands are rising fast.

Ewan McEoin and Linda Cheng


Contents 14

Review

We explore the creative hub of Queensland. We look at technological innovations from around the world and great Australian designs

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made right here.

Capacity

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Priyanka Rao, co-director of Luxmy

Forever Young

Melbourne Design Now

Furniture, shows how a fresh, innovative business strategy has helped the contract manufacturer grow through tough times.

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Talking Business With Dessein Furniture, CLU Living and American Hardwood Export Council.

The National Gallery of Victoria is hosting a major exhibition that spans art, architecture, craft and design. We meet with Simone LeAmon, curator of one of the key exhibits Melbourne Design Now and explore some unique insights into Australian manufacturing.

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Scrapbook Queensland architecture firm Owen and

68 New Products

Vokes and Peters share their inspirations, influences and most idolised possessions.

78 Industry News Cover image: Michele Chow of Dessein Furniture. Portrait by Change Creative (Ty Layton). Art Direction by Linda Cheng.


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Founder/Publisher Peter Zapris peter@furnishinginternational.com Editor-in-Chief Ewan McEoin editor@furnishinginternational.com Deputy Editor/Art Director Linda Cheng editor@furnishinginternational.com Graphic Design Change Creative (Phillips Hentri) mail@changecreative.com.au Printing Ellikon – Print • People • Planet ellikon.com.au Contributing Writers Simone LeAmon, Katie O’Brien Contributing Photographers Scottie Cameron, Change Creative (Ty Layton), Armelle Habib, NGV Photo Services, Tom Roschi, Toby Scott, Alicia Taylor, John Tsiavis General Manager George Iliadis george@furnishinginternational.com Subscriptions Manager Natalie Tshaikiwksy subscriptions@furnishinginternational.com Advertising Enquiries George Iliadis Phone: (+61 3) 9417 9399 Fax: (+61 3) 9417 3981
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Furnishing International accepts freelance contributions; however there is no guarantee that unsolicited manuscripts, artwork or photographs will be used or returned. The entire contents of Furnishing International are copyright and may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or in part, without written permission from the publisher. While the publisher makes every effort to be accurate regarding the publication of advertisements, it should be noted that Furnishing International does not endorse any advertised product or service. Viewpoints and opinions expressed in Furnishing International are those of the authors. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the information supplied or changes subsequent to the date of publication. Furnishing International is printed at a ISO 9001 Quality Accredited and ISO 14001 Certified green print facility and on paper sourced from sustainable forests. The Publisher of Furnishing International promotes environmentally responsible, socially equitable and economically sustainable practices.


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Inspiration ...the tyranny of distance that was once a designer’s major hurdle, has now helped define [our] design identity.

— KATIE O’BRIEN


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A Sunny Disposition MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY HAS LONG DOMINATED THE CREATIVE SCENE IN AUSTRALIA. BUT A NEW BOOK BY JASON BIRD SHOWS THERE IS MUCH TO CELEBRATE IN THE DESIGN CULTURE OF THE SUNSHINE STATE.

Reviewed by Katie O’Brien


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onstantly dubbed as the less attractive sibling to its stylish southern counterparts, Queensland is finally outgrowing the ‘Big Country Town’ label and coming of age. The recent release of Hightide: Queensland Design Now showcases the work of 22 of the state’s leading design practitioners over the past ten years. Author Jason Bird, director of Luxxbox, and one part of Brisbanebased design collective Quench, reveals that now is Queensland’s design high tide – there is a line in the sand, a watermark and it was finally time to document how far the humble Sunshine State has come. Synonymous with blistering heat, sporadic thunderstorms and balmy afternoons spent on verandas and balconies, Queensland is a life lived outdoors. Majority of the book’s featured designers now base themselves permanently in Brisbane and, as Robert Forster of the Go Betweens fame prefaces, artists cannot afford to disregard their environment and it is this unique connection between the Queensland

locale and the Queensland designer that Hightide has proclaimed. Bird begins by drawing historical connections between the burgeoning Brisbane music scene of the 70s and the now flourishing Brisbane design scene, highlighting the similarities of major growth and development. Albeit forty years apart, both industries were born from geographical isolation and Bird credits the archetypal Queenslander philosophy of experimentation and ‘having a go’ as being key to the industries’ respective successes. Scattered throughout the product pages are wonderful homages to the state itself from its most adoring fans. Brisbane designer Marc Harrison speaks of Australian design as colourful and humourous, the local designers themselves as mischievous and fun. The Go Betweens Robert Forster offers Brisbane’s geographical isolation as the perfect opportunity to detach, think and create. Whilst local artisan Kent Gration declares

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Queensland’s laid back attitude as the key in allowing designers to define themselves locally and internationally without the pressure of the designer spotlight. These moments, scribed beautifully and cast across the books only brightly coloured pages endear the reader to the state itself; its beautiful climate, the relaxed lifestyle and how, when all of these elements are combined, it creates the iconic Queensland designer – that which we should be celebrating. But sadly, this unique connection between genius loci and the designer is lost. This is a book about products. However, the foreword and interludes imply that you cannot celebrate one without the other – they are intrinsically connected, particularly in Queensland. As a result the designers who should be celebrated on equal footings with their creations, take a back seat to their products. David Shaw, the godfather of Queensland furniture deserves a pedestal profile, whilst KT Doyle’s historical research

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of Brisbane flora should be spot lit and Alexander Lotersztain’s passion would drip from the pages if given the opportunity, but sadly, it doesn’t. Externally, the book is a wonderful production, but internally, it’s an opportunity missed. What could have been a celebration of Queensland design and designers comes across as a product catalogue – without the price tags. Sadly absent is the wonderful Queensland warmth that the state is renowned for. Most products are introduced clinically with the product materiality and technical aspects taking center stage. This is great from a manufacturing perspective, a wonderful achievement from a local production perspective (an ongoing battle which the state is slowly overcoming) but the designer themselves are almost non-existent.

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Where is the Queensland narrative? Where is the Queensland designer? The character of what makes Queensland design so wonderfully unique is unfortunately missing from the pages. Finally, eschewing the bright lights of Europe’s design meccas, Queensland designers are realising that they no longer need to relocate and be successful overseas before they are noticed in their native (or sometimes adopted) homeland. As John Stafford summarises “Hightide showcases Queensland Design within our national design conversation” and the tyranny of distance that was once a designer’s major hurdle, has now helped define Queensland’s design identity. Hightide is published Uro Media. uromedia.com.au


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TECHNOLOGY: ERO

ERO ERO is an innovative concrete deconstruction robot concept designed to disassemble concrete structures and recycle the material into new pre-fabricated concrete buildings. Designed by Omer Haciomeroglu, a student at Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design, the highly innovative project won the 2013 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the Student Designs category. Instead of using brutal mechanical force, Omar worked tirelessly to create a deconstruction process whereby the ERO robot blasts ‘micro cracks’ on the concrete surface with high-pressure water jets – literally taking the reinforced concrete wall apart and leaving an exposed steel reinforcement as the remaining skeleton. Current methods of concrete demolition impacting harshly on the environment. However, ERO is designed to quickly convert the ‘waste’ product into an ‘asset’ without the need for excessive water, and minimises noise pollution whilse also reducing dust. ERO not only separates the recycled material, but cleverly packs and labels the byproduct in clean bags of aggregate. With concrete jungles growing taller by the day, and concrete structures being demolished at a frightening pace, the ERO concrete robot presents a conceptual project that has many people hoping it becomes a recycling reality very soon. (Text by Katie O’Brien) omerh.com

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www.ellikon.com.au


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STONEWARE Stoneware Lights by Melbourne Designer Adam Cornish are influenced by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi - the belief that there is great beauty in imperfection. Runner up at Corporate Culture’s Design Journey Competition 2012, Cornish exhibited the lights as part of a collective of awardwinning emerging designers at the Australian Pavilion of the 2013 London Design Festival. Each of Cornish’s lights is made from natural, locally sourced material with stoneware clay crafted in a way that intentionally retains tiny imperfections. Individual lines and ripples created by the hands of the craftsperson are retained, adding an individual quality to this tactile form. Designed for disassembly, all components are designed to be held together without the use of adhesives, allowing each element to be separated into their individual waste streams at the end of the pendants life. (Text by Katie O’Brien) adamcornish.com

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BUCKET Melbourne-based design studio Coco Flip have created a delightful new product adding their growing range of beautifully designed lighting and furniture. The Bucket coffee table (pictured), designed by founder Kate Stokes references Australian modernist architecture of the 1950’s in both form and materiality. The concrete top, a composite of recycled flyash and resin is a lightweight alternative to traditional concrete, whilst the delicate frame and ‘bucket’ inset are constructed from brass tubing and sheet metal respectively. All components are manufactured in Melbourne by craftspeople aligned with the philosophy of accuracy and quality championed by Stokes. (Text by Katie O’Brien) cocoflip.com.au

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MR DOWEL JONES Designed by Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch, Mr Dowel Jones is a curious character traversing around desks and floors. It takes its name from the timber dowel components, which slot together with the help of compression-moulded rubber fixings, made in collaboration with manufacturer, Abar Rubber. The desk and floor lamps are flat-packable and can be easily assembled. It’s also flexible in its arrangements, the fixings allow for myriad configurations, making it not only a lamp but a system for creating structures. The desk lamp weighs just 900 grams and its tripod legs tread lightly and doesn’t diminish desk space whilst at the same time, easily navigates the clutter that inevitably accumulates. Hardiman and Lynch are two-thirds of Melbourne-based design collective LAB DE STU which formed in 2011 and the trio are final year students at RMIT studying furniture design. In their short careers they have exhibited nationally and internationally winning numerous awards between them. doweljones.com labdestu.com

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REVIEW

COLLAGE Dinosaur Designs has launched their first furniture collection titled Liquid Moon and Collage. Creative Directors Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy have taken the brand’s iconic resin materiality usually reserved for jewellery and homewares, and produced a collection of visually tactile and texturally lustrous side tables. The beautifully refined pieces are made by hand and produced in their Sydney based studio with each piece being one of a kind. Olsen’s Liquid Moon tables are organic in structure, with spindly-like spider legs inspired by the fragile strength of nature. Colour palette evolves from deep browns and oranges referencing earthy materiality, with the luminosity of the ocean explored with clear, dusted and frosted blues. Floating Lilypads inspired Ormandy’s Collage collection (pictured), with graphic disc like patterns perching upon carved leg supports. The circular details celebrate materiality with the bold colours expressing key junctions. On other pieces these connections blend seamlessly into a beautifully consistent materiality. Both collections are available in a variety of colour combinations and materials from Dinosaur Designs. (Text by Katie O’Brien) dinosaurdesigns.com.au Spring Issue 2013


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Ideation Design Innovation Those companies that are able to embrace design, lean manufacturing, and new technologies, are the manufacturers that have given me that sense of optimism...

— SIMONE LeAMON


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FEATURE: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

Melbourne Design Now MELBOURNE NOW IS THE LARGEST EVER EXHIBITION PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, AND WHEN THE DOORS OPEN IN NOVEMBER 2013 IT WILL MARK A SIGNIFICANT SHIFT IN THE OUTLOOK OF THE INSTITUTION, ENUNCIATED BY THE BOLD DECISION TO OPEN BOTH GALLERY SITES (INTERNATIONAL AND AUSTRALIA) UP FOR A LARGE-SCALE DYNAMIC AND FREE EXHIBITION PROGRAM THAT SPANS CONTEMPORARY ART, ARCHITECTURE, CRAFT AND DESIGN. IN THIS ISSUE WE EXAMINE ONE OF THE KEY EXHIBITS WITHIN THE OVERALL DESIGN PROGRAM, MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW , WE MEET THE CURATOR SIMONE LeAMON, AND EXPLORE SOME UNIQUE INSIGHTS INTO THE STATE OF PLAY FOR AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURERS. Interview Linda Cheng

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Previous spread: The ‘Design Wall’, designed and curated by Simone LeAmon, featuring 40 different projects exemplifying Design and the Everday. (Photo: NGV Photo Services) Above: The Bionic Eye. Exemplary project for Design and the Human Body. The project was led by Mark Armstrong of Blue Sky Design and Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) Right: Kate Rhodes’ Ornamental Crimes, part of a series of exemplary projects for Design and Visual Culture.

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FEATURE: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

INTERVIEW: SIMONE LeAMON, CURATOR, MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW. FI: What was your curatorial vision for this exhibit? SLA: The curatorial vision was to put together a suite of presentations that explored five themes – design and social culture, design and the economy, design and sustainability, design and the human body and design and visual culture. I’ve looked at these themes through the lens of design, and have specifically sought to identify projects that are groundbreaking in their intentions. The exhibit embraces the kind of design that some may consider too overtly commercial for the NGV, and also designed objects that we are more accustomed to seeing in a gallery. The five themes were a mechanism by which to sort, code and assemble the collection. In the three months of research for this exhibition, I’ve discovered considerable design activity out in industry, what is interesting is that we haven’t really been celebrating some exemplary work because it is so deeply embedded in business and is

easily bypassed by traditional design surveys or editorial coverage. Within the exhibit we have a central element called the Design Wall, which is populated with ubiquitous everyday products. The wall is 16m wide by 7m high. It represents 21 design studios, through 40 different projects. An intention of the wall is to communicate that there is a strong link between design and serial (mass) production. As such there are multiples of each item, which creates a vertical field of 670 objects. FI: What have you discovered about the design culture in Melbourne through the process of curating this exhibit? SLA: It’s quite clear that there are different conversations going on, there is an overall sense of pluralism, yet within this there is considerable individuality within the designer-maker culture. This is incredibly healthy because it means designers are not all subservient to dominant trends. For a long time, design hasn’t been correctly accepted as part of our cultural discourse. Architecture is strongly integrated into this arena, yet when we talk about product or industrial design, there really


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If the design sector and manufacturing sector could come together (as the design and manufacturing sector) rather than two different sectors, we would have a tremendous environment

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Those companies that are able to embrace design, lean manufacturing, and new technologies, are the manufacturers that have given me that sense of optimism. They’ve had to go through a process of transformation to make themselves leaner and more agile, more like thoroughbreds, in order to weather and perform.

Top left: Palace Table by Gregory Bonasera. Part of a series of furniture and lighting projects for Design and Visual Culture. Bottom left: Sticks and Stones stool and table by Ash Allen, also part of Design and Visual Culture. Right: Simone LeAmon, curator Melbourne Design Now. (Photo: NGV Photo Services)

hasn’t been the space in the cultural sectors to sufficiently celebrate and investigate it. What I’ve come to learn about designers in Melbourne is that there’s so much creativity, smarts, meaning, emotion and generosity embedded in the sector. Many people doing good work, and there have been very few avenues to present this output on an accessible public stage. Melbourne Design Now can harness the attention of the general public audience at NGV and give rise to great conversations and catalyse future action. I’m really hoping that the design sector will see this as a call to action – to get more motivated and look towards participating in more of these types of events. The moment designers can see it as being their cultural duty to present, investigate and to take interest in the work of the sector, the more the sector will accelerate for everyone in it. FI: Has this informed your view of what design is? SLA: The one thing that I have learnt is that design crosses many subjects and many disciplinary fields. So when we say the word design, we would be wise to be more open to it being anything and potentially everything rather than a very specific type of production.

What’s happened in Australia is that we’ve fallen into a trap of thinking of design as furniture, objects and artefacts alone, which comes out of the atelier or studio. The reality is that Australia has had a proud history of design but it is configured in ways that draw less magazine attention. For example there are very few places in the world that have the capacity not only to design but to also engineer, build and deliver a car or any vehicle from start to finish. We need to start drawing a new conversation out. Australian design isn’t only about the designer-maker or design for small batch production runs. It has much greater consequences and greater intelligence than this. Design is an agency for thinking about what we want in the world. It’s not pure process and it’s certainly not just about providing visual solutions. FI: A lot of the objects you have curated are not only designed in Melbourne but also made here. What have you discovered about the health of the manufacturing industry? SLA: I’ve always said that design and manufacturing are natural collaborators. And for too long, we’ve been talking about design

over here and manufacturing over there. I really believe the key to encouraging a more optimistic view of manufacturing locally is talking about design and manufacturing together. Certainly, I know that designers think their opportunities are constrained because of this apparent perception that there is no manufacturing locally. That is just not quite right. As a designer here, you need to get to know what is happening in manufacturing locally. The sector here isn’t the same as it is in Europe; it is built upon a completely different service industry – of contract and shop manufacturing. If the design sector and manufacturing sector could come together (as the design and manufacturing sector) rather than two different sectors, we would have a tremendous environment because the designers are pretty smart people and the manufacturing capabilities, expertise and capacity that I see in local manufacturing is really robust. It is also apparent that some rearticulation needs to occur. Sometimes, manufacturers are caught in a paradigm of doing business as they would have 10 years ago – they’re finding it very hard to evolve into the present. Those companies that are able to embrace design, lean manufacturing, and new

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Above: A still from the animated film ‘The Secret Life of Things’ by Eco Innovators - the exemplary design practice for Design and the Environment. Top right: Kids Straw stool by Dale Hardiman. Part of a series of exemplary projects for Design and Visual Culture. Top far right: Orp pendant light by Christpher Boots. Part of a series of exemplary projects for Design and Visual Culture. (Photo: John Tsiavis) Bottom right: Black Magic cinema camera. The exemplary project for Design and the Economy.

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FEATURE: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

technologies, are the manufacturers that have given me that sense of optimism. They’ve had to go through a process of transformation to make themselves leaner and more agile, more like thoroughbreds, in order to weather and perform. But also the companies that are doing exceptionally well, like Black Magic, are highly specialised, servicing niche markets. Part of the success of manufacturing in Victoria is manufacturing for those niche products because we can’t compete on ubiquitous products, we can’t compete on price, but we can compete on smarts, capability and design ingenuity.

Australian manufacturers have been very slow to realise they can either keep waiting for a customer to call them and being squeezed on price or they can start making something that nobody else can make, control their set up and capacity. Many manufacturers who are going out of business are the ones that have never designed and made their own things. They were always beholden to either automotive or other companies. Some of them have transformed and identified things that they can make and sell. Some of them have embraced designers and some of them haven’t.

FI: What does this mean for the manufacturing industry? SLA: In Australia, manufacturing grew up around the service industry as contract manufacturing. This meant that manufacturers didn’t create propriety product because they were only making for other people. If we look at France, Germany, Italy, many of those manufacturers were set up differently. They invested in their own IP within their proprietary products and they work with a network of distributors and representatives to sell them.

FI: What would be your advice to manufacturers? SLA: I don’t think you can afford not to invest in designing your own proprietary product. The key is investing wisely. Make something for a market that you understand, that you can access, and that you can robustly compete within by embracing design and innovation. Melbourne Design Now will be exhibited at NGV Australia, Federation Square, as part of Melbourne Now, 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014.


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CASE STUDY: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

Melbourne Design Now: case study – Bolwell EDGE IN THE LATE 1950’S A 15-YEAR-OLD CAMPBELL BOLWELL BOUGHT A 1937 FORD V8 SEDAN FOR A£50. IT WAS WHEN HIS OLDER BROTHER GRAEME DECIDED TO TAKE THE CAR FOR A RUN IN THE FOREST, INSTEAD OF GOING TO SCHOOL ONE DAY, THAT CAMPBELL HAD HIS FIRST INTRODUCTION TO SPORTS CARS. AFTER THE FOREST ADVENTURE, THE CAR’S PANELS WERE DAMAGED SO BADLY THAT CAMPBELL DECIDED TO REPLACE THEM WITH MOULDED FIBREGLASS – CREATING THE FIRST BOLWELL MK1. LITTLE DID HE KNOW THAT HIS EXPERIMENTING WITH THE ‘NEW TECHNOLOGY’ OF THE TIME WOULD GROW TO BECOME THE BOLWELL CORPORATION OF TODAY.

MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW CURATOR SIMONE LeAMON CAUGHT UP WITH CAMPBELL’S SON OWEN BOLWELL, MARKETING DIRECTOR AT BOLWELL GROUP TO DISCUSS PERSPECTIVES ON AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF DESIGN, INNOVATION AND LEAN MANUFACTURING IN MAINTAINING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN A GLOBALISED MARKETPLACE.

SLA: Can you please describe Bolwell Group – its origins, set-up and business offerings? OB: In 1962, my father Campbell turned his custom sports car hobby into a business. The Bolwell Mk 4 was his first commercial model, selling over 200 units. Soon after, Linley Hughes became a partner in the company and together they went on to create five different commercial models, 800 cars in total - and in doing so earned the Bolwell name a prized place in Australia’s automotive history. From this early start in sports cars we diversified into other fibreglass products, and quickly became known as an industry leader in composites manufacturing. Over the past few decades, our capabilities have been extended from designing and building sports cars to other vehicle applications, including heavy transport, marine, defence, architecture, mining, infrastructure and original equipment (OE) automotive. We now have production facilities in Melbourne, Thailand and China.

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SLA: What are the specialist skills and capabilities that Bolwell has developed, which are both nationally and internationally competitive? OB: Even in the early years it was imagination and innovation that set us apart from our competitors, while the automotive industry went through some drastic changes in the early 80’s and Bolwell’s sportscar business stalled, the company had attracted the attention of some industry heavy weights. The then MD of Kenworth was so impressed with the innovative composites work of the latest Bolwell sports car, the Ikara, that he paid Campbell and Linley a visit. He asked if they could make a hood for his trucks. Thirty-one years and over 30,000 Kenworth trucks later, Bolwell remains one of the most successful OE composites manufacturers in Australia. Today we service multinational clients such as Kenworth, IVECO, Caterpillar and Schneider Electric. Our design and engineering teams work closely with

Thales in developing the new Hawkeye for the Australian Defence Force. And new proprietary products see us establishing ourselves in the Australian caravan market with The EDGE and AIR. Our natural affinity with all things ‘on wheels’ has served us well in opening doors into the Australian, and now international, transport industry. Our willingness and ability to provide high quality industrial design and engineering advice to all of our customers has helped us build on this competitive advantage. SLA: What steps have you needed to take (if any) to maintain your competitive edge? OB: Over the years we have learned that our customers require a supplier who can keep evolving with them and responding to their needs. In doing this, we have broadened our capability scope to include a considerable amount of sub-assembly and metal fabrication, particularly from our Thailand based factory.


CASE STUDY: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

We also know that our manufacturing customers are under considerable pressure from their own customers for more competitive pricing, so having our low cost manufacturing base gives us a distinct competitive advantage over our other low cost Asian competitors. But the real kicker here is that its not just a low buy price our customers are after, they also need a reliable, established and most importantly, local technical support service. You combine this with an attitude of going ‘above and beyond’ and you can have a winning formula, we’ve nurtured long-term client relationships this way, some of which have lasted well over 30 years. SLA: Design is fully integrated within your business with Vaughan Bolwell as Director of Design - do you find this drives internal innovation by doing more technical and market research? OB: Vaughan has been a part of Bolwell since graduating from RMIT Industrial Design. The amazing thing about Vaughan is that he has

a unique ability to take an idea, a concept, and shape it into something that not only looks incredible but is also designed to be manufactured at a specific cost. He’s able to do this because he has held pretty much every single position in Bolwell including Production Manager, Quality Manager, Business Development Manager... the list goes on. He knows the manufacturing process inside out and is a keen advocate of lean manufacturing disciplines in everything he does. Smart design provides our customers something that is aesthetically pleasing with lower manufacturing costs and built-in quality control. ‘Design to Delivery’ is our tag line. This is what we do every single day. When you stand back and take a good look at it, our whole company is based around design. From the products we make to the processes we put in place to make them, to the way we design the after sales service. Everything comes back to designing it in such a way that it works.

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In business development, we have a habit of showing our new prospective customers possibilities they may never have considered. It opens so many doors for us. This philosophy has found its way into our own products such as The EDGE and the new Nagari sports Car. And while it definitely drives innovation within our business, this innovation still needs to abide by the natural laws of business and the typical constraints of opportunity cost and available cash to fund it. Discipline is one of the most important thing that makes our design focused business work. When it comes to new proprietary product ideas and concepts there are no limits to what is proposed and we are always open to suggestions. We’re all human and we get excited. But there is one tool we use that has proven incredibly effective at saving us from ourselves. For any new proprietary project or product we use an NPD (New Product Development) process where the proposal goes through a number of ‘gates’ before

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being granted a green light. The details of this process are confidential, however suffice to say it uses hard data and in-depth market research and is used by some of the most successful companies in the world. SLA: Is the EDGE Caravan as a exemplar of entrepreneurial activity emerging out of the design and manufacturing integration at Bolwell? OB: Bolwell has always integrated design and manufacturing, ever since Campbell made his first car. But recently we have become more focused, more disciplined in the way we integrate it. Firstly, the numbers need to stack up, the data needs to support the initiative. Second, we look at what we are trying to achieve and the capabilities we have with which to achieve them. The interesting thing here is that when we come across something that requires a capability we don’t have, we go in search of it and in the process take it on as our own or cement a relationship with a trusted supplier. This in

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CASE STUDY: MELBOURNE DESIGN NOW

turn allows us to then offer this capability to our contract-manufacturing customers. The EDGE has enabled us to tap into an underlying desire in the Australian caravan market for something innovative and in turn has allowed us to explore new ways to build it, to innovate within our own processes. As far as the current marketplace is concerned, it seems that there isn’t much of an innovative nature for customers to choose from. There are some exciting brands but you could probably count them on one hand. Following on from the EDGE we’ve identified other new opportunities in this market segment that will enable us to provide an even broader offering to these customers into the future. SLA: What would you describe as the key opportunities within the design and manufacturing model for other SME Australian manufacturers? OB: The design and manufacturing model still works for Australia. But it is different.

Whether we like it or not, we operate in a global environment and can no longer rely on the ‘tyranny of distance’ or import tariffs to protect us from our international competitors. Five years ago we made the decision to embrace this internationalisation of the manufacturing environment and setup our own, 100% Bolwell owned and operated factory in Thailand. Keeping all of our design, engineering and technical support in Australia means we are in constant contact with our customers here and have a local presence. While our manufacturing customers are still building items in Australia for Australians, they require a skilled supplier who can offer them localised support. The key is in also offering a low-cost manufacturing solution where the component prices are internationally competitive; this prevents clients going off in search of low-cost alternatives that may prove unreliable. By being able to offer these two things: low cost production coupled with localised support, we are able to help our customers


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Previous page: The Bolwell EDGE caravan. The exemplary project for Design and Social Culture. It will also be the host of NGV Bolwell Design Residency in the NGV International garden for the duration of the exhibition. Bottom left: Kitchen of EDGE caravan. Right: Interior of Bolwell EDGE caravan.

to remain manufacturing their products in Australia. This leads to preferred supplier status. It’s a win-win situation. An added bonus for us, and any other Australian manufacturer thinking about doing the same thing, is that we are now also very well placed to service European and American customers, opening up the vast global supply chain. I believe this will be the manufacturing model of the future in Australia. Becoming a manufacturing brand of proprietary products requires substantial investment but has proven to be a very successful complementary strategy, working hand-in-hand with our core capabilities. We utilise both our Australian and international production facilities so that we can bring a high-value designed product to the Australian consumer at an affordable price. Interestingly, though, Bolwell began its life as a brand of sports cars, evolved into a contract manufacturer and is now returning to its branded roots. SLA: Is it now vital to have a global horizon as an Australian design and manufacturing business? OB: Designing just for the Australian market has its limitations. Anyone can tell you that. And I think you’d find that the general consensus is that any manufacturer or designer with ambitions really needs to look to the global stage. However, while Australians consume Australian made products there is always a need for domestic supply. We just need to be smart in the way we achieve this. Another way to look at it is to embed a higher-level

technical, design and engineering component into your offering, something that is not easily copied in a low-cost country. Combine this with a high-level of customer care and ‘at call’ technical support and you may be able to succeed and prosper. SLA: Is Australian manufacturing stuck in an outmoded mindset of being too geared around seeing themselves as a service industry? OB: This is interesting because I’ve noticed that most larger contract manufacturers seem to be stuck in the ‘Australian only’ service industry mindset, while their larger customers, usually multinationals with a directive from head office to continually cut costs are looking to their Asian competitors. The smaller companies are the ones doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of innovation and differentiation. These little guys are the ones who are providing outstanding customer support, managing the outsourcing of their manufacturing to Asia, growing their in-house proprietary brands and selling into the local economy. These smaller, lean businesses are out there and they are thriving. We could all learn a thing or two from them. SLA: What advice would you give to an Australian manufacturer who wants to grow their businesses through design? OB: Our design process is less about aesthetics than it is about manufacturability, designing to the customer’s specification and within cost constraints. Don’t get me wrong, though,

all customers are human and the exciting aesthetic element is key to increasing the chances of getting the gig. At the end of the day, while the product’s aesthetics could have the customer’s mouth watering, it is the numbers that will close the deal. Design is an involved discipline that adds real value to the customer’s end product but it is not necessarily immediately obvious to many customers so you need to back up your proposal with the only thing that matters to your customer – the bottom line. SLA: Your EDGE caravan features in the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition Melbourne Now, what does it mean to be recognised in this way? OB: Simply, it is an honour to have one of our creations exhibited in the NGV. It was unexpected and I don’t think Vaughan believed me when I told him that his ‘baby’ would be a feature in the Melbourne Now exhibition. The prestige the exhibition offers goes a long way in helping us celebrate our 50-year anniversary. It will give us an unparalleled opportunity to showcase our company’s talents and skills, distilled into one product. The Bolwell EDGE Caravan will operate as a pop-up design studio located within NGV International’s back garden. The display is a highlight of the design presentations during Melbourne Now 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014. ngv.vic.gov.au

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CAPACITY: LUXMY FURNITURE

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Forever Young PRIYANKA RAO, CO-DIRECTOR OF LUXMY FURNITURE, SHOWS HOW AN INNOVATIVE, FRESH AND AGILE BUSINESS STRATEGY HAS HELPED THE CONTRACT MANUFACTURER GROW EVEN THROUGH TOUGH TIMES.

Left: Priyanka Rao on the factory floor.

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riyanka Rao is a rare face in the Australian furniture manufacturing industry. This young businesswoman is an MBA graduate with a background in architecture, she has been named NSW Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is not yet even 30. In 2011, she joined her father Sudhindra Rao as co-director of Luxmy Furniture and it didn’t take long for her to make it her own. Luxmy was started in 1997 by Sudhindra, who’s been in manufacturing his whole professional life. Originally, he had a powdercoating factory and when he learned that a local furniture manufacturing factory was shutting down, he decided to diversify and took it over. Since then, Luxmy has positioned itself as a contract manufacturer specialising in worktops and joinery. Their clients include many of Australia’s most respected furniture brands including Herman Miller, Steelcase, Zenith, Stylecraft, Corporate Culture, Living Edge, and many of the major suppliers of workstations. Through this clientele Luxmy have developed a sophisticated approach to manufacturing and a fantastic foundation in design and R&D. After listening to her story, it seems an unusual move for Priyanka to enter into the manufacturing business. After completing her degrees in architecture and business,

she worked in the music recording industry, but didn’t have much optimism for her personal career progression due to illegal downloads eroding the market. “My father needed someone to come in and apply some good business strategy and get the business to a point of growth and I thought that was interesting to me,” says Priyanka. “I consider it a great challenge, that’s why I came into the business. To be in a position to shape business strategy and execute it, that opportunity for a young person is gold.” In the last couple of years, Luxmy has developed new business channels, finding ways to innovate; they launched an online venture, Evolvex, a design-your-own flat-pack furniture brand, which Priyanka has instigated herself. Most significant, their latest acquisition of renowned Australian manufacturer Woodmark has now expanded their capabilities into upholstery and woodcraft as well as high-end, mass manufacturing. “Now we’ve got a very deep skillset under the one 6,500 square metre factory roof. Luxmy is investing now to diversify our markets so that we’re not caught out relying on one market alone. This diversification is designed to enable our longevity and fuel the next phase of growth,” says Priyanka. Her astute business mind has brought a level of resilience to the company that is

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CAPACITY: LUXMY FURNITURE

Bottom left: Joinery and workstation production at Luxmy Furniture. Bottom right: Drilling and joinery detailing.

often lacking in the furniture manufacturing industry. “I think there’s a lack of an entrepreneurial thought process in Australian furniture manufacturing,” says Priyanka. “Most people don’t invest in business strategy to assess where new channels can be developed. Many people come up through the trade with a service mentality. When orders drop off and they hit trouble, in some of the worst cases, they just shut up shop.” “My father and I both took the time to acquire MBAs so that we were trained to apply an entrepreneurial process. When we hit trouble, we find solutions. A couple of years ago, we saw the downturn coming – seeing that we were heading into some difficult years we started marketing ourselves a lot more. So that when we got to the point of difficulty, we were ready for it.” The last two years have been especially tough for the furniture industry, with

We’re investing now to diversify our markets so that we’re not caught out relying on one market alone. This diversification is designed to enable our longevity and fuel the next phase of growth.

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government spending grinding to a halt, major projects being delayed, which has a follow-on effect for furniture production. Coupled with a skyrocketing Australia dollar, it’s been the perfect storm that has caused the demise of many manufacturers. In response to this harsh climate, keeping visible is how the company stayed in business. “It is possible to make money in this market,” says Priyanka. “Our factory is constantly churning. You’ve got to try to invest in good design and technology and take risks in this environment. We get noticed because we’re constantly doing things. It’s irrelevant whether they work or not because we make ourselves known and we continue to get work. If you stop marketing yourself, eventually people will forget that you’re there.” luxmyfurniture.com.au


www.americanhardwood.org

Australian Design. American Hardwood. Adam Cruickshank is just one of many Australian designers who favour American hardwoods in their work. According to Adam, American hardwoods are “A-grade furniture timbers. They are stable, cut well and rarely slip�. Their beauty is of course indisputable. Adam and other Australian designers will be showing their American hardwood designs in the Galleria at Sydney in Design in August. www.adamcruickshank.com.au

Pictured: Horizon Chair by Adam Cruickshank, American walnut


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CAPACITY: MEET THE MAKERS

Talking Business:

Dessein MICHELE CHOW IS PART OF A NEW BREED OF YOUNG AUSTRALIAN DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS, LOOKING LOCALLY BUT THINKING GLOBALLY. A SYNTHESIS OF GOOD DESIGN, A NICHE MARKET AND SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION. Portrait: Change Creative (Ty Layton) Text & Art Direction: Linda Cheng

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TALKING BUSINESS: DESSEIN FURNITURE

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Left: Michele Chow with Dessein’s inaugural TAP range. Top right: Flow dining, coffee and side tables designed by Justin Hutchinson and Para chair designed by Adam Goodrum. (Photo: Scottie Cameron) Bottom right: Plank stools and bench designed by Jon Goulder. (Photo: Scottie Cameron)

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ormer interior designer Michele Chow launched a new Australian furniture brand, Dessein Furniture, with its inaugural collection in August this year. The journey from initial concept to having product on the floor took just over 12 months, and took Chow across South East Asia in her search for the right production location. In the end she has discovered a unique setup in Thailand. Having practiced interior design in Australia and internationally, Chow has always kept a keen eye on the furniture market. While in London, she made frequent trips to Milan Furniture Fair, which germinated the idea to one day create her own furniture brand. After returning to Melbourne, she identified a gap in the market for affordable, well-designed furniture with a distinct Australian flavour. With some encouragement

from her former employer at Hecker Guthrie, she took the plunge and thus, Dessein Furniture was born. “I wanted to contribute a new shape and value to Australia’s furniture design and the retail industry,” says Chow. “I wanted to embrace Australian vibrancy and culture and provide a platform for emerging as well as established designers.” A chance meeting with industrial designer Justin Hutchinson led to deep consideration about the need for sustainable production right across the product development cycle. Hutchinson’s insights guided her towards sustainable timber sourcing as both an ethical and aesthetic point of difference for her first collection called TAP. Establishing ethical supply and manufacture can be complex. For Chow it has been a process of intensive research. She eventually identified Rubberwood, a common

plantation hardwood grown sustainably throughout South East Asia. Rubberwood is a by-product of latex production. Plantation trees are sapped, similar to the process used to gather Maple syrup. After 25 years, the trees are felled, and the timber goes into furniture production. “A lot of people in South East Asia have the idea of Rubberwood as cheap or poor quality timber, but it’s actually the most misunderstood species of timber in the furniture industry,” says Chow. “Rubberwood is very similar to Oak and it has all the characteristics to make it truly successful material for furniture production.” “The fact that rubberwood is traditionally used for low-end applications such as children’s toys and chopping blocks actually adds value to the narrative of introducing this new timber species to the Australian furniture market,” says Hutchinson. “It’s not something

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TALKING BUSINESS: DESSEIN

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that Australians are familiar with, but the quality of the timber ensures it receives a great response. The story behind the timber is really important. More and more Australians want to understand the lifecycle of materials that they are specifying, they want to know that it is a managed resource. Specifiers want to be guaranteed they’re not only getting a good price for the product but that they are getting good design that is enabled by sustainable practices.” During her research phase, seeking raw materials and relevant craft and manufacturing skills, Chow discovered a local manufacturer in Thailand who could produce the furniture in close proximity to where the timber is sourced. This presented an attractive opportunity to reduce the length of the supply chain. Chow engaged Hutchinson and two other esteemed Australian designers, Jon Goulder and Adam Goodrum to design the first collection for her brand. “Michele’s initial brief was to create flatpacked furniture that would be made in Thailand and assembled here,” says Goodrum. This approach posed challenges due to the distance between the designers and the manufacturer, but also the creative challenge of working in a new material.

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TALKING BUSINESS: DESSEIN

Jon Goulder, whose expertise is as a designer-maker of high-end wooden furniture, went through a rigorous process of prototyping to assist the overall manufacturing process. “I wanted to give Michele and the Thai manufacturer a nobrainer,” says Goulder. “I’ve manufactured in Asia before and it can be tricky. But in saying that, the manufacturer is really good and Michele’s tenacity is what’s made it happen. You can see that in Adam Goodrum’s chair, it’s incredibly technical to make.” Chow spent many weeks on the floor of the 180-staff factory supervising the production, which is no simple task given that she had no prior manufacturing experience. But what she lacked in experience, she made up for in tenacity. The factory also produces furniture for the Japanese market, which has stringent standards so the furniture that has been produced for Dessein is extremely high quality. “My goal is to successfully establish the Dessein Furniture brand in the marketplace and to demonstrate that quality can be accessible and affordable,” says Chow. “I want Dessein to be a brand of choice and integrity with an international outlook and reach.” desseinfurniture.com

Previous spread: Justin Hutchinson designed Flow table legs hanging in the drying cupboard. Bottom: Sapping a Rubberwood tree and Dessein’s furniture on the floor of the factory in Thailand.

I wanted to contribute a new shape and value to Australia’s furniture design and the retail industry.

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SmarTex

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SRx® Titanium Support Core

UniPhase® Comfort System

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SlimFlex® Foundation


TALKING BUSINESS: AMERICAN HARDWOOD

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Talking Business:

American Hardwood Export Council

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TALKING BUSINESS: AMERICAN HARDWOOD

Left: American Cherry Desk by Paul Nicholson, The Splinter Workshop. Commissioned by AHEC. Below: Ash bench designed by Ben Percy. Commissioned by AHEC.

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he American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is a trade association representing around 130 sawmills, concentration yards and hardwood timber suppliers in the US who produce lumber, flooring and veneer. The association receives 90% of its funding from the US federal government’s national export initiative, a policy designed to help reduce the country’s trade deficit. The reason for such extensive government support is the forestry industry in the US is a major contributor to the economy. The country is the largest producer of hardwood lumber in the world and much of its raw material comes from private land where the forests are managed as a sustainable resource and the timber is harvested much like any other farming crop. “It is probably the only truly renewable building material that we have,” says Roderick Wiles, director of AHEC’s African, Indian, Middle East and Australasian programs. “You have to manage forests otherwise they won’t be productive. The trees do grow back. Iron ore doesn’t.” “We have a big role to play on the environmental side,” Wiles continues. “There are many markets where the environment is really important, Australia being one of them, so we have to be able to demonstrate that American hardwoods are sustainable, and they meet all the various criteria. AHEC are market leaders in environmental information in the hardwood sector.” With the furniture industry in the US moving offshore, AHEC has had an increasing role to plan in the promotion of sustainable American hardwoods in new and emerging export markets. “Fifteen years ago, around 10% of American hardwoods were exported,” says Wiles. “These days, it’s around 45% and as a result, we’ve got more members than we’ve ever had before.”

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American hardwoods are particularly suited to high-end boutique furniture production. “That’s the sector we’re focused on working with, in markets like Australia,” says Wiles. “The challenge we have is American hardwoods are really well established here but about 85-90% of the market usage is White Oak. We would really love to see other species being used.” To this end, AHEC have commissioned Australian furniture designers including Ben Percy, Adam Cruickshank and The Splinter Workshop to showcase the depth, variety and versatility of American hardwoods. Ben Percy’s bench, made from thermally modified Ash, is a new innovation for American hardwoods. The thermal modification process heats the wood at very high temperatures in the kiln, essentially cooking it, rendering the timber a deep chocolate brown colour. It also creates uniformity across different pieces of timber. Thermal modification also collapses the cell structures in the timber turning it into a ‘dead’ product which means it doesn’t lose or absorb moisture like other timbers normally would, making it suitable for outdoor use in extreme weather conditions as well as wet areas and flooring. “In Australia, it’s actually been taken up as a furniture timber because it looks so nice,” says Wiles. “The grain of the Ash and this lovely colour is something new. It’s an alternative to Walnut.” In the local market, AHEC is carving a place among available timber species. “I don’t believe in pitching American hardwoods against native Australian species,” Wiles explains. “It’s adding to the palette of hardwoods that are available. There are no Australian species that are that similar to American species. So it’s enabling architects, interior designers, furniture designers and manufacturers to explore new possibilities.” americanhardwood.org

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TALKING BUSINESS: CLU LIVING

Talking Business:

CLU Living Text: Linda Cheng

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TALKING BUSINESS: CLU LIVING

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Previous page: CLU Living’s managing director, Christopher Lu. Below: CLU Living’s Swan Street showroom in Richmond, Melbourne.

anadian-born Christopher Lu is one furniture retailer who is bucking the trend against the reported retail slump. Now based in Melbourne, Lu opened his showroom, CLU Living, on Swan Street, Richmond in May 2013, in the depths of low market sentiment in the retail sector. “I read somewhere that adversity breeds innovation and the most innovative companies of our time have all started in recessionary times,” Lu says. “They learn how to be leaner, smarter and faster and they have to do things differently. They’re hungrier.” And Lu is hungry for his own slice of the pie and set himself the challenge of starting his own business. Originally from a marketing background, Lu worked in advertising for Ogilvy and then for a builder in interior design before moving to Australian in 2011. While searching for furniture for his own apartment, he realised there was a gap in the market for well-designed furniture suitable for compact spaces. This was, as he says, his lightbulb moment. “I’ve always wanted to start my own business,” he explains, “so I thought, why not do a furniture store that caters to a whole new market segment of small, compact living.” “My biggest goal with CLU is to illustrate to people that they can have a great lifestyle in smaller spaces,” he continues. “One of the key reasons people want to live in the inner city is for lifestyle. But they’re punished by the high prices of living there. That’s why they have to sacrifice certain things like living in a smaller apartment. I want CLU to be the brand that shows people how to live in smaller spaces with great furniture, but without a big price-point.”

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Branding is one of the key factors behind CLU’s success. With his astute business background, Lu has an in-depth understanding of his clientele and conducted four months of market research before opening the showroom. “Being in this retail climate, I had to have really strong products that people are looking for,” he says. “They had to be really relevant stuff to make people spend money.” This strong brand identity has helped CLU Living differentiate itself from the mass market, the likes of IKEA and other national brands. As well, Lu designs and retails many of his own pieces, made locally by Australian manufacturers. “I would say about 65% of the furniture is locally made. It would be good to have everything 100% local but, in my mind, the designs are not innovative enough,” says Lu. “So I have to supplement with international pieces that are different to catch people’s attention, that stays with my brand. I carefully pick pieces or design pieces that would work with my clientele.” Recently, Lu was recognised by the Australian Furniture Association as a finalist for Victorian Retailer of the Year as well as a national award for Furniture of the Year (occasional furniture category) for his own design, the Compass wine bar, made in collaboration with Victorian manufacturer Newton Furniture. “I believe in my proposition to the market,” Lu says. “For me, there’s an opportunity to be a new kind of retailer that is fresh and caters more to the lifestyle. It’s a challenge that I’m going to give myself, see how I do.” cluliving.com.au

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SCRAPBOOK BY OWEN AND VOKES AND PETERS

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S

crapbook

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THE PLACE FOR DESIGNERS TO SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS

by Owen and Vokes and Peters

wen and Vokes and Peters is a Brisbane-based architecture and design firm formed by Paul Owen and Stuart Vokes in 2003 with Aaron Peters (who was originally a student of Stuart Vokes) recently joining the directorship. In just ten years of practice, the firm has built up an impressive body of work, predominantly in residential architecture in the inner suburbs of Brisbane and small-scale commercial and public works. The practice has been twice awarded Robin Dods Award for Residential Housing, Queensland’s highest accolade for residential architecture. Their work is often characterised as understated with a deep consideration for site and context. Outside of architecture, the firm has also produce a range of small-run furniture for Small Australian Projects as well as Paul Owen’s own Proto-type which was launched this year.

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SCRAPBOOK BY OWEN AND VOKES AND PETERS

what we make...


SCRAPBOOK BY OWEN AND VOKES AND PETERS

We want to make things. It’s the most rewarding undertaking that I can think of: bringing something into being.

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Opening spread: New Farm Arbour (Photo: Alicia Taylor). Left: Bardon House (Photo: Toby Scott). This page (clockwise from top left): Clotheshorse; Tuning fork stool; Piano stool.

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SCRAPBOOK BY OWEN AND VOKES AND PETERS

Clockwise from top left: Lago de Bolsena; Roof Edinburgh, Scotland; Casa Da Cerca, Lisbon; Lago de Bolsena; Eaves overhang, Switzerland; Gate handle, Melbourne; Balcony, Hamburg; Banqueting House Ruins, Sudeley Castle, England; Street Room, Jodpur, India

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our inspirations...

Clockwise from top left: Suburban details of Brisbane.

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10 What’s your favourite time of day? Definitely early morning. I’m not always out and about at that time but when it happens I feel like a champion. What’s on your desk right now? A pile of junk. If you mean the projects we are undertaking, there’s a couple of great house extensions wrapping up on site and a wonderful collection of projects on the way. What do you see when you look out at the world from where you sit? I can see ERA cafe and with it the promise of an egg and bacon wrap. It’s like a gravitational field that traps me in its orbit every morning. What motivates you? We want to make things. It’s the most rewarding undertaking that I can think of: bringing something into being. What are you most passionate about? I suppose you might say that I’m passionate about a lot of things, but finding the right

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SCRAPBOOK BY OWEN AND VOKES AND PETERS

Questions with Aaron Peters balance is the difficult part. I want to have a fulfilling professional career and spend as much time as I can with friends and family. I’d guess that most people feel the same way about their lives. Who/what are your key influences? I could give you a shopping list of architects with Louis Kahn, Caruso St John, Alvar Aalto and Edwin Lutyens at the top – but I’ll throw in Bill Watterson as I think Cavlin and Hobbes is a perfect thing. I could give you another shopping list of authors, but the names I would choose would probably sound pathetically clichéd. In your mind, what is the most critical problem facing us in the future? How can design intercept with that? The next great leap forward in our profession will be in tackling the global challenges of sustainability. I think the next Le Corbusier, should we have one, will be the first group or individual to find a way of incorporating and expressing this through their work.

Left to right: Paul Owen, Stuart Vokes, Aaron Peters

What’s your most essential piece of equipment? We’re all tied to computers, but I love pulling out my carpenter’s pencil. What are you most proud of? It’s not something I think about, but I’m constantly amazed at how fortunate my life has been: great wife, great friends, and great practice. What now? How do you see the road ahead? We’ve recently finished our first major non-residential project for the University of Queensland. I’d say that sustaining a balance of residential and non-residential project into the future would be a significant goal. owenandvokesandpeters.com


880,000m2 EXHIBITION AREA 4,500 GLOBAL EXHIBITORS 190,000 GLOBAL BUYER S

CHINA INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR(GUANGZHOU)

The 33rd China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou) Office Show


Industry It is possible to make money in this market. You’ve got to invest in good design and technology and take risks.

— PRIYANKA RAO, LUXMY FURNITURE


NEW PRODUCTS

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New Products

THE ROUSEABOUT BEAN BAG Custom tanned leather and recycled polystyrene beads. WALL HOOK SHELVES Available in black steel and powdercoat finish. Both designed by Justin Lamont. (Photo: Armelle Habib) LifeSpaceJourney, lifespacejourney.com

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IRO TABLES by Jo Nagasaka for Established & Sons launched at London Design Festival. Made from resin and wood. Established & Sons, establishedandsons.com

KISS PENDANT Designed by Stephen Johnson for Artecnica. Made from pressed, blown glass with mirrorising finish. Artecnica, artecnicainc.com

REN CHAIR, Designed by Lisa Vincitorio and Laelie Berzon. Made from European Beech wood. Available in a range of lacquered colours. Something Beginning With, somethingbeginningwith.com.au

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NEW PRODUCTS

BLOWN LAMP Designed by Samuel Wilkinson for &Tradition. Made from blown glass with digitally created lozenge pattern. &Tradition, andtradition.com

BOO DINING CHAIR by Ben Tovin Design. 100% Solid Bamboo with Scandinavian oil finish Ben Tovin Design, bt-d.com

PEBBLE MODULAR SEATING, designed by Schamburg+Alvisse now with new backrest Zenith Interiors, zenithinteriors.com.au

TP COAT STAND, designed by Ivan Woods. Two or four leg configuration with utility trays and optional intermediate hooks. American Oak. Schiavello, schiavello.com

Spring Issue 2013


REPRESENTING AUSTRALIA... Furnishing International is the Exclusive Australian Member of The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications

China China Furniture Brazil Mobile Lojista

England Cabinet Maker France Le Courrier du Meuble

United States Furniture|Today Germany Mobelmarkt

Spring 2013

Melbourne Design Now Design and Manufacturing Forever Young Luxmy Furniture Talking Business Dessein Furniture Scrapbook Owen and Vokes and Peters

Mexico Moblaje

India IFJ

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INSPIRATION / IDEATION / DESIGN / INNOVATION / INDUSTRY

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IAFP membership is by invitation only. Through our affiliation with the IAFP, Furnishing International is proud to offer its readers and advertisers the additional benefits of global content and distribution through the world’s leading furniture publications. With 18 members, the IAFP is recognized as an authoritative organization which supports the interests of the home furnishings industry by providing an open forum for members to meet and strengthen our industry. Our current goal is to promote the Green movement internationally. Visit our website at www.iafpalliance.com

For more information, please contact Peter Zapris, Publisher - Furnishing International on +61 3 9417 9399 or email peter@furnishinginternational.com


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NEW PRODUCTS

TOWEL by Scholten & Baijings. Cherokee Red Hay, hay.dk

MAZE AND PEBBLE upholstery collection. Available in various colours. Charles Parsons Interiors, charlesparsonsinteriors.com.au

SEALY POSTUREPEDIC HYBRID, titanium spring system with visco elastic foam and SmarTex fabric treatment for temperature regulation. Sealy, sealy.com.au

Spring Issue 2013

FLORAL CUSHION COLLECTION, in Evergreen, Bloom, Iris, Poppy Field, Peony, and Wild Flower. Linen & Moore, linenmoore.com.au


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NEW PRODUCTS

MULTIPLO KITCHEN APPLIANCE Modular recessed bench unit with multifunction cooking features. Scholtes, scholtesbrand.com

INNOVACHEF OVEN with multi-dimensional cooking and recipe display on a full colour TFT LCD screen. Beko, beko.com

EE-I-EE-I-O OUTDOOR LOUNGE SET AND BRUCE THE BULL COOLER, by Aaron Jackson. Made from recycled 44 Gallon drums. Table is flatpacked and easy to assemble. Think Outside, thinkoutside.biz

SAFFIRE CHARCOAL FIRED BARBEQUE, smoker and pizza oven. Heavy-duty ceramic and stainless steel. Saffire Grills, saffiregrills.com.au

Spring Issue 2013


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INDUSTRY NEWS

Industry News

International Alliance of Furnishing Publications

11 SEPTEMBER 2013

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he International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (of which Furnishing International is a member) met in Shanghai, China to elect a new executive committee for 2013-2015 period. Dr Casey Loo, editor-inchief and publisher of Furniture & Furnishing International, Singapore, was elected as the new chairman. The Alliance also welcomed two new members, Meubihome from Belgium and MD magazine from Bulgaria. iafpalliance.com

Furniture China 11-15 SEPTEMBER, 2013

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ombining a highly attended trade event with two major conferences and eight international display pavilions, Furniture China 2013 hosted over 85,000 visitors recently. Held at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre (SWEECC), the renowned five-day furniture exhibition will return for its 20th anniversary in 2014.

Design is (was) EVERYWHERE! LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 14-22 SEPTEMBER 2013

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hen the London Design Festival (LDF) was conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans in 2003 their concept was simple: create an annual event promoting the city’s imagination, engage the country’s greatest thinkers and deliver an unmissable celebration of London design. However, for all of the design nerds out there, it has quickly become a place of DOI - Design Over Indulgence. The Festival has become a design mecca of sorts, with excited locals and internationals making the annual pilgrimage to the design

Spring Issue 2013

furnitureinchina.com

Malaysian International Furniture Fair

holy land. Attempting to attend all of the calendar activities is impossible, with the always evolving and ever refreshed program hosting over 300 events this year. Claiming that “Design is Everywhere” the 2013 LDF organisers delivered on their statement, collaborating with over 200 partner destinations across the city to host events including the annual Design Destinations, Landmark Projects and the superbly organised Design Precincts. The 2013 program had everything… except you maybe? So start planning your 2014 Design pilgrimage now!

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londondesignfestival.com

2014.miff.com.my

4-8 MARCH, 2014 he Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) celebrates its milestone 20th anniversary in Malaysia in 2014. The export-oriented trade show held annually in Kuala Lumpur since 1995. MIFF 2014 will include the highly popular Buyers Night and the anticipated MIFF Furniture Design Competition for Young Talent.


880,000M2 EXHIBITION AREA 4,500 GLOBAL EXHIBITORS 1 9 0 ,0 0 0 G L O B A L B U YE RS

CHINA INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR(GUANGZHOU)

First Phase: The 33rd China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou)-Home Furniture Homedecor & Housewares China 2014 China International Outdoor & Leisure Fair 2014 China (Guangzhou) International Trade Fair for Home Textiles 2014

Second Phase: The 33rd China International Furniture Fair (Guangzhou)-Office Show China International Furniture Machinery & Furniture Raw Materials Fair (Guangzhou)2014


INDUSTRY NEWS

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Upcoming Events

Link Festival 25–26 November, 2013 Melbourne, Australia

The inaugural Link Festival of Design, Technology and Social Change will be held at Deakin University and Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Guest speakers include social activist and founder of Barefoot College, Sanjit Bunker Roy, and Father Bob McGuire. Organisers hope to attract 400 delegates who will collaborate in interactive workshops on how design and technology can influence social innovation in the future. linkfestival.com.au

Business of Design Week 2–7 December, 2013 Hong Kong, China

2 November, 2013 – 9 February, 2014 California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way Brisbane, Australia

California and Queensland share not only the Pacific Ocean, but a love for all things outdoor that their sunny climates engender, thus it is only fitting that Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is celebrating their summer season by playing host to the global touring exhibition California Design: 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way. Featuring more than 250 defining objects of the 20th Century and originating from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the exhibition examines California’s role in shaping the design culture of the United States

Digital Fabrication Master class 5–8, 12–15 November, 2013 Adelaide, Australia

Fab Lab Adelaide is a not-for-profit community workshop supporting individuals and businesses through the provision of free and low cost access

Spring Issue 2013

and it’s snowball effect on the rest of the world. Tracing the origins of a distinct modernism in the 1930s, the exhibition curated by Wendy Kaplan and Bobbye Tigerman explores the collective imagination of the Californian ‘designercraftsman’ through major innovations in materials and mass production. The touring exhibition featuring The first Barbie Doll, classic Levi Strauss 501 Jeans and iconic Charles and Ray Eames furniture will be accompanied by GOMA’s hugely successful UP Late program with live music and DJ sets on Friday nights. More laid back gallery visitors can relax on GOMA’s grassy knoll and experience a balmy afternoon not too dissimilar to that our Californian counterparts.

Partnering with a different country each year, Business of Design Week (BODW) is an annual conference featuring international speakers on design, branding and business. The conference focuses strongly on design culture in Asia and this year’s partner country is Belgium, a nation of immense creativity and innovation. Speakers from Belgium will talk about their processes in design-led solutions and innovative products and services. bodw.com

qagoma.qld.gov.au/californiadesign

MAISON&OBJET Asia 10–13 March, 2014 Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

to digital fabrication technologies. In conjunction with Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) and in partnership with TAFE SA, Fab Lab will present ‘How to make almost anything: Fabrication in the digital age’ from digital fabrication expert, Dr Zoz Brooks.

The popular French furniture and homewares event will debut in Asia next year at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Over 180 exhibitors are expected to present a range of interior design and decoration products. MAISON&OBJET Asia will also present Designer of the Year Asia edition.

fablabadelaide.org.au

maison-objet-asia.com


ONE LAST WORD

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One last word DRINK+DINE+DESIGN AWARDS In a partnership between the JamFactory, The Adelaide Review and The University of Adelaide School of Art, Architecture and Design, drink+dine+design South Australian Emerging Designer award celebrates the vitality of the state’s food, wine and dining experiences. In all, 11 finalists were selected and ceramists Ulrica Trulsson was award the $2,000 prize for her Jug with Beakers (pictured), made from wheelthrown, altered stoneware clay. Judges for this year’s award included Brian Parkes (JamFactory), Leanne Amodeo (design writer for The Adelaide Review) and Joanne Cys (Associate Professor of interior architecture at UniSA). Ulrica Trulsson is currently completing her second year in JamFactory’s ceramics studio. An exhibition of all finalists’ work will be on show until 1 December, 2013. (Photo: Tom Roschi) jamfactory.com.au

Advertiser Index IFC–01

Arma Shutter armashutter.com.au

20

Ellikon – Print • People • Planet ellikon.com.au

66

Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2014.miff.com.my

02–03

Bambi bambi.com.au

23

Wharington International wharington.com.au

71

IAFP iafpalliance.com

Bekaert Textiles bekaerttextiles.com

25

Australian Made australianmade.com.au

73

M.A.T. Fine Furniture matfinefurniture.com

Charles Parsons charlesparsonsinteriors.com

27

About Space aboutspace.net.au

75

Furniture China furniture-china.cn

Lifestyle lifestyle-au.com

77

China International Furniture Fair ciff-gz.com

79

Indonesia International Furniture Expo ifexindonesia.com

04–05 07

09

Reed Gift Fairs reedgiftfairs.com.au

11

Enjoy Lighting enjoylighting.com.au

30

Profile Fabrics profilefabrics.com.au

12

Chatsworth Fine Furniture chatsworthfinefurniture.com.au

47

American Hardwood americanhardwood.org

17

Mayfield mayfieldlamps.com.au

53

Sealy sealy.com.au

Interiors Online interiorsonline.com.au

65

China International Furniture Fair ciff-gz.com

19

Spring Issue 2013

28–29

IBC OBC

Export Furniture Exhibition efe.my MAISON&OBJET maison-objet.com


Home influences

10-13 MARCH 2014 SINGAPORE

MARINA BAY SANDS EXPO AND CONVENTION CENTER www.maison-objet-asia.com Visitors: Promosalons AUSTRALIA PTY LTD Tel. +61 (0) 2 9261 3322 - australia@promosalons.com

preview, © Cyril Lagel, GraphicObsession. SAFI organisation, a subsidiary of Ateliers d’Art de France and Reed Expositions France

YOUR NEW DESTINATION IN ASIA


Furnishing International Spring 2013  
Furnishing International Spring 2013  
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