Antonia Morrongiello & Lucy Grant


Words: Manuela Millan
PHOTOGRPAHY BY: ROBERTA LIA
 

We had the pleasure to visit the Makers Collective Pop-up in Richmond and interview Lucy Grant from Beeline Designs and Antonia Morrongiello from Felix furniture.

Antonia Morrongiello

 

MM: Tell us a brief story of how you started to design and make furniture We started Felix Furniture out of a need for furniture for ourselves.

AM: My dad was a furniture maker so I grew up with lots of beautiful solid timber pieces in my home, he gave Ian and me a great appreciation for what it meant to be able to make something from scratch with your hands and so when it came to furnishing for ourselves, we were shocked at how much poorly made, imported furniture there was in market.

I studied Interior Design and Decoration at RMIT and Ian is a largely self taught furniture maker with a background in cabinet making, so together we combined our talents and started designing and making our own furniture, soon enough friends and family were asking if they could buy pieces and the rest is history.

MM: Where do you start designing and making? Tell us a bit more of your creative process.

AM: I usually have two ways a new design comes about. I can start with an element, like a combination of materials, or a leg or handle design, then build the piece around that. Or I start with the final product in mind, like a sideboard and then work backwards, refining the style, shape and look.

MM: What's your favorite material to work with, and why? Have you experimented with other materials?

AM: Plywood is by far our favourite material to work with. An exposed, perfectly mitred plywood edge looks incredible, combined with how eco friendly plywood is, what’s not to love! We have recently launched our latest Kork Collection which features plywood with cork door fronts. Cork has been a great addition to our materials collection, it is also super sustainable and has amazing colour and texture.

MM: Are you open to the idea of collaborating with other designers?

AM: We definitely are. I think collaborating is a key part of small business, especially in the design and making industry. We are actually currently working on a new collaboration with another Melbourne brand, which is super exciting and we can't wait to share it with everyone in the coming weeks.

MM: Where do you get the best coffee and food in Melbourne? 

AM: We love our local cafe The Spotted Owl in Sunbury, they know how to make a great coffee! For a delicious, authentic Italian meal we love to go to Tiamo in Carlton, so good!

MM: What is coming for Felix furniture in the future?

AM: We are coming to the end of our Makers Collective Pop - Up shop in Richmond, with the doors closing at the end of June. After that, we have a few exciting projects on the go that we will be launching shortly, all the while we will be working on the early stages of our next collection.

Lucy Grant

 

MM: Tell us a brief story of how you started to design and make furniture

LG: We started with a friend in Sydney asking for a dining table and then word of mouth spread and we were getting requests for more pieces and it kind of snowballed from there. We officially released our first production piece the “Calypso Stool” in 2012 which was very popular but it was the addition of the Copper and Brass versions that really saw our business grow. We have now expanded from stools and tables to lighting, beds, storage and mirrors.

MM: Where do you start designing and making? Tell us a bit more of your creative process.

LG: We are both from creative backgrounds- Adam is a Cabinetmaker by trade but completed his apprenticeship in Fine Furniture and my background is in fashion & graphic design. Most of the time we collaborate on designs really well- one of us will have a concept and the other can visualise and we work it through but there are times when we just don’t agree!! I think because Adam is all about the construction and fabrication he is very details focussed and I am more about the aesthetics and how the overall look will be so we compliment one another quite well.

MM: What's your favorite material to work with, and why? Have you experimented with other materials?

LG: We generally tend to find our inspiration from the materials we use. We are primarily a solid timber brand- it is what we know best, we love the variety and the natural beauty of it. Whilst it forms the foundation of our collections with each range we introduce a secondary material; with our Calypso Collection it was Copper & Brass, with our Cuba Collection it’s leather and currently we are experimenting with metal fabrication in our designs.

MM: Are you open to the idea of collaborating with other designers?

LG:  Yes definitely, creating the Makers Collective introduced us to a whole host of fellow creatives and makers and has given us a lot of ideas about possible projects in the future!

MM: Where do you get the best coffee in Melbourne? and where do you get the best meal(could be brunch, lunch or dinner)?

LG: Best coffee would have to be our local Ichi Ichi Ku Izakaya in South Yarra and best meal would have be Le Bon Ton in Collingwood- always a great atmosphere.

MM: What is coming for Beeline design in the future?

LG: In the past we have released a new collection each year but have had such a great response to our last range the Cuba Collection that we have not had time to fully develop our next range so will instead release a few new products over the coming months. The future will see us focussing more on where we first started- dining tables.