Great Dane’s Sydney showroom was packed out tonight for its tenth birthday celebrations.
I took a shine to this pink chair and lusted after many other cool Scandinavian pieces…
And bumped into the lovely Mr Jason Grant
I love the Great Dane brand. Congratulations on your first of many decades! I’ve heard the new Melbourne showroom is stunning and can’t wait to visit after Easter.
From the same factory turning out high end furniture for Herman Miller and Living Edge comes a new design-your-own flatpack range with grand designs on taking a chunk of Ikea’s market.
Young entrepreneur Priyanka Rao has furniture in her blood. Her dad Sudhindra owns furniture manufacturer Luxmy and runs her new venture with her. But the idea for Evolvex actually came while shopping for furniture for her younger sister who was moving to Canberra for work.
“She couldn’t find anything she liked when we went out, but she really needed new furniture for the new place, so she bought stuff that would just have to do. Most of the flatpacked products broke on the way home in some way or another so Dad carted the lot to his furniture factory to fix it up,” says Priyanka.
“In the process she requested a few customised features and when we chatted about the experience later we dreamed of an online flatpack furniture store where only high quality, eco-friendly furniture was made available and the customer had the option of customising the furniture to fit their particular needs.” Three years later Evolvex.com.au launched.
Her father (known as Rao) started Luxmy Furniture (the parent company of Evolvex) in 1997 after successfully establishing and running manufacturing companies in various industries. Priyanka studied architectural design, worked in the industry, and then did an MBA while working in various roles in the recorded music industry. “I joined Luxmy Furniture in early 2011 after Dad and I finally decided that we should bring Evolvex to life. I find my design and marketing background complements Dad’s operational background really well.”
Luxmy Furniture manufactures for just about every major furniture supplier in the commercial sector – Herman Miller, Living Edge, Haworth, Stylecraft, Zenith, Corporate Culture and so on. In partnership with their clients, they’ve manufactured furniture for the offices of The Prime Minister’s Cabinet, Optus, Facebook, IBM, Louis Vuitton, 3M, Commonwealth Bank and many more.
So Evolvex is producing affordable, quality, customisable flatpack furniture in this country. What’s more, it’s eco-friendly. “We found that the majority of the flatpacked furniture on the market was made from MDF or particle board with high levels of formaldehyde and this is something we have made our mission to change,” says Priyanka, 25. “We only use the highest quality ‘E0’ rated MDF board that has been certified by the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS). This is extremely important for us ethically. Because the customers are getting the product direct from the manufacturer we can maintain a great price point.”
So does Priyanka really think she can take on Ikea? “We aim to the number one provider of high quality flatpack furniture available online in Australia and given IKEA doesn’t sell online for their east coast stores, I think we’ve got a great chance at winning that race,” she says with a cheeky grin. “We come to you online from the convenience of your couch and we even deliver to you so you don’t have to move.”
Evolvex has positioned itself in the ‘low to mid’ market, with its target customers being students, families with young children, young renovators and small businesses with less than 10 employees.
“Our ideal customer has gone through their ‘Gumtree/eBay/found on the street’ furniture phase and is now looking to invest into high quality furniture that will last them for the next five-to-10 years. They’re also time poor and would prefer to have someone make their lives easier by delivering furniture to them that fits their needs.”
Their most popular products are currently their storage cubes and black and white TV cabinets. The most popular colours chosen are white, black and beige.
“Our product is unique and patent pending, as we let customers customise furniture to their needs via an online application. As the product is made from interchangeable modular components, the pieces can be rearranged at a future date to make an entirely new piece of furniture. They can buy additional parts and increase the size of their original design. We named the business Evolvex as you can evolve your design by exchanging different parts.”
Freedom’s new winter 2012 collection launched today and I’m impressed. What do you think? Whether you’re after this season’s grey or a more colourful, eclectic look, there really is something for everyone with some great prices too. As always, there are some great finds within the homewares department and the best thing is you can order them online. I have my eye on the chunky grey hand knitted throw and I’ll be stocking up on the great value velvet cushions ($29.95).
Award-winning interior designer Thomas Hamel was born in the States but has called Australia home for years, giving him a truly international viewpoint. He recently added another string to his bow as a furniture designer. He told Interiors Addict all about it.
“I feel the world and our clients are now looking for more bespoke and special pieces as the world becomes so much smaller by means of the internet,” says Thomas. “We are striving to create show-stopping furniture pieces that bridge the gap of traditional and contemporary interiors.”
It seems sensible for an interior designer to get involved in furniture design. Like Greg Natale having a thorough understanding of architecture and art, the joined up approach makes sense. Creative director Dylan Farrell designed the new collection in collaboration with Thomas, who has had his business in Sydney for 21 years.
In order to create integrated and seamless homes there has to be a harmony besides the “shell” of a home and its interiors. “We spend a great deal of time trying to create cabinetry and furniture to suit a specific home,” says Thomas.
His international background too, gives him a very broad perspective. “I call myself a cross-pollinator. I am in a very fortunate position to give all of my clients and staff ideas that I gather from our international projects. It is wonderful to see products developed in one market and how we can translate then in another. For example, I found better wrought iron lighting in LA for a house in Provence, France.”
It’s perhaps no surprise then that Thomas tries hard not to have a signature style. “Besides the fact that my work has a common thread of quiet sophistication and subtle detail, I strive on each job to develop the client’s personality and style, not my own.” He adds: “My goal was always to build my reputation on impeccable service and I think this has been crucial to my success. A great reputation is only as good as your last job.”
On the subject of trends, he has seen more than enough of the ‘French Provincial’ look (“a few pieces of it are great but not entire homes,”) and while he tries to ignore them, he admits it’s hard. “In this media driven world it is impossible not to be influenced by trends but I do try to keep them more towards the back of my mind rather than at the front.
“A timeless interior should always be a harmonious mix of elements – too much of a good thing always becomes tiresome eventually. Mixing styles and finishes will never stop being the most timeless.” Likewise, while it’s tempting to plump for style over function, Thomas says function, and importantly proportion, is key. “I would never specify very low slung sofas or chairs. Who wants to sit on the floor? It is not a flattering proportion for anyone.”
He describes his own home as a calm oasis with a mixture of styles and furnishings to match his personality. “I love having everything remind me of an adventure somewhere on earth. I keep the palette neutral so the objects all speak for themselves and are the stars.”
His biggest advice is to be confident and buy items that speak to you in some way. “They always seem to fit into an interior and usually in a fun, unexpected way.”
Come back tomorrow for a look inside Thomas’ own home and to read about his favourite things (and people).
The Soleil Server and (below) the Ramblas Credenza from the Dylan Farrell for Thomas Hamel Collection.
Discount homewares site Temple & Webster has worked with Great Dane Furniture to curate a collection of vintage Danish pieces including a Hans Wegner Cigar chair, a set of Moller #71 rosewood dining chairs, an oak dining table by Kurt Ostervig and gorgeous rosewood and oak sideboards for a special sale running until Sunday. Each piece is offered with a discount of at least $1,000 and all items are significantly discounted. The Moller #71 Dining Chairs are for sale at $5,500, down from $10,500.
IKEA today announced it will build a third store in Marsden Park in Sydney’s north-west. Located 50km from the city in Sydney Business Park, the Marsden Park news comes hot on the heels of the Tempe store opening earlier this month.
Managing Director David Hood said the new Marsden Park development had been months in the planning. At 36,000 square metres, it will be of a similar size to Tempe.
IKEA Marsden Park will be built on a 73,550 square metre site – equivalent to nine football fields. Work on the site will commence in late 2012/early 2013 and it is expected to open in 2014/15.
The launch of this new store is an important step in IKEA making its range available to as many people in Australia as possible. “The north-west corridor has massive potential for IKEA,” said Hood. “As it continues to offer new tranches of land and home releases, we will see an increasing number of families moving in, and this store will make it easy for all of those people to furnish their homes affordably.”
Marsden Park will be the eighth IKEA store in Australia and a cornerstone of the IKEA longer term national expansion plans. It will follow the opening of IKEA Cambellfield in Melbourne’s North, which is scheduled to open in 2014. IKEA Australia (East) has opened two new stores in as many months: Springvale in Melbourne’s south-east and Tempe in Sydney’s south-west.
Customers around the world have embraced the IKEA concept since it launched in 1954. IKEA is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer: at the end of the 2011 financial year there were 325 stores worldwide which welcomed 734 million visitors across 38 countries and employed more than 150,000 people. The turnover for all IKEA stores in the 2011 financial year was almost AU$35 billion.