The Makers Collective Pop-Up
Melbournian's love a pop-up store, so when the Makers Collective arrived in Richmond, filled with wares from local 'makers', we knew our love affair was set to continue.
Sarah Elshaug : Friday 10th March 2017
The Makers Collective brings together a curated selection of distinctive hand made wares by talented Melbourne creatives. This inspired concept store, was created by the clever folks at Felix Furniture and Beeline Design, following their chance meeting when exhibiting side by side at a trade show. Each designing and making their own hand-made furniture range, they discovered a shared appreciation for high quality locally made wares. And so it was only natural that they should imagine a beautiful new pop-up store, filled with their own collections whilst also showcasing wares from a selection of other creative Melbourne makers.
Felix Furniture, established in 2014 by Antonia Morongiello and Ian Anderson , is a brand that is very clear on it's mantra... to design and create unique hand-crafted contemporary plywood furniture of the highest quality. They source all their materials and products locally, supporting Australian based and owned businesses. Their craft has been handed down to them by Antonia's father Felice who was a passionate furniture craftsman on weekends. Ian, a cabinet maker by trade, moved to Australia from Scotland to be with his girl and spent many happy years alongside Antonia and her father on weekends, tinkering in his old workshop, restoring furniture and being mentored by Felice in his later years. It is in honor of these fond memories of their time with Felice that Antonia and Ian named their business 'Felix' (the English translation for Felice).
With a focus on delivering bespoke hand made products, the creative process at Felix is essential to ensuring their designs are unique and enduring. Antonia describes their process from idea to creation... "the initial stages of a design start on paper with hand sketches. We use this process to establish the style, scale and material of the piece. The next stage is prototyping. This often involves tweaking elements of the design as we go as aesthetic changes are made and potential issues arise. Once we are happy with the pieces, we make the final product which is then photographed and ready for sale."
The other half of the dynamic duo behind the Makers Collective is Adam Brislin and Lucy Grant from Beeline Design. Adam and Lucy established Beeline Design in 2010 with a vision of creating inspired timber homewares, furniture and lighting to last a lifetime. Each piece is designed by Lucy and hand-made by Adam in their Melbourne-based workshop using sustainably sourced timbers and the finest materials and finishes. Each unique piece of their beautifully crafted designer furniture is not only made to last a lifetime, but for the enjoyment and admiration of generations to follow.
So it's no wonder these two bespoke furniture brands have collaborated so successfully to create their unique Makers Collective Pop Up store in Richmond, showcasing the best of Melbourne's 'makers'.
Lucy from Beeline Design said the vision for the new store was "to create a welcoming space that showcases some of the best local talent that Melbourne has to offer". And so they set about planning a space that could take on a gallery feel to exhibit all the fabulous makers under the one roof. The site in Bridge Road offered them the perfect opportunity to bring their vision to life. Now seeing a resurgence back to a bustling precinct in the heart of Richmond, Antonia says the area "is going through a regeneration, redefining its identity - we are excited to be a part of it."
The store is light and bright with dusty blue paneling on one wall, contrasting dark timber floors, a solid Victorian Ash counter top, super high ceilings and elegant full length black steel framed windows to the street. With so much space there is plenty of room to wander and admire each vignette within the store. They have certainly made the most of their combined expertise to deliver as Lucy describes a "minimalist, clean and inviting store design and display".
In fact since opening in February they have received some really positive feedback from visitors to the store... "a lot of people are commenting on the calmness of the space- I feel our use of a pastel colour palette and blonde timbers really gives the store an overall softness but the black stained floors keep a bit of contrast. We have been quite restrained in our decoration and I think it works for us and allows all of the pieces to speak for themselves, which I then see our customers commenting that they can picture this or that in their home." said Lucy.
But creating a pop up store as good as this one takes enormous effort and a shared vision. In fact the power of collaborating so seamlessly together has really driven their biggest triumph in opening the new store. "We all work really well together and share the same vision for how we wanted the space to look" says Lucy. Antonia agrees with Lucy's sentiments that collaboration is becoming the key to unlocking success in the Melbourne design industry. "The design industry is such a hard industry to break into on your own that collaboration with like minded companies is key. The effectiveness of collaborating is priceless, its allows everyone to grow and progress together with a minimised individual risk. The handmade design community shines when we collaborate, rather than compete with each other."
Yet grand dreams rarely happen without a few challenges along the way admits Lucy... "I guess the biggest challenge was making that vision come to life with a small budget and in a time frame when everyone else was enjoying a break over the festive season!" Thankfully for interiors obsessed Melburnian's they all worked exceptionally hard during the holidays to give us a new interiors store that delights in so many ways.
The Makers Collective showcases not only the unique furniture pieces from Felix Furniture and Beeline Design, but also a number of carefully curated wares by the best of Melbourne's makers. In fact the team were so passionate about supporting local artisans that they partnered with up and coming Melbourne contemporary artist Jessie Rigby who created an exclusive collection of original artworks to compliment the furniture range.
Indeed, the other Melbourne makers selected for the store align perfectly with the values at the heart of Felix Furniture and Beeline Design. All brands are hand made in Melbourne by artisans who are passionate about their craft. The line up includes:
3Square : cushions
Capra : resin pots
Hide & Co : leather goods
Love Your Space : original art prints
Luum : pots
Rachel Bainbridge : resin wares
Soktas : lighting
Uimi : knitware
In curating this selection of brands to showcase at the Makers Collective, Antonia says the team "really wanted to be able to give them a platform where they are not competing with imported goods and really shine a spotlight on the amount of talent we have at our fingertips - there are so many incredible local small businesses in Melbourne". It was this clear vision that has brought together like minded, bespoke, hand crafted brands to create a truly unique and inspired pop-up store that Melburnian's will love.
The Makers Collective Pop Up is now open until July
Location : 134 Bridge Road, Richmond
Hours : Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am - 4:30pm, Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm