Words: Manuela Millan
Photos: CAITLIN MILLS
We spent 5 minutes at Shop Furniture's showroom in Lygon Street and had a chat with the teams behind Kohde and Sean&Horn. We asked them about their work, their history and their plans for the future.
[K] It was a natural process. We all have a lot of great stuff to show and we have a lot of stuff in little shops and retail outlets. So we thought 'why not have a shop together?'
The teams behind Kohde and Sean & Horn had worked together several times so combining forces was nothing new for them.
[K] There's a lot of crossing over. We share the workspace do lots of stuff together. We sometimes use their skills and machinery and vice versa. So that's how it all started.
Brig and Illy are the duo behind Kohde. They create bespoke residential interiors and furniture, and have a passion for joinery and kitchens.
Kitchens are special, they're the heart of the house and it's where we spend most of our time.
Kohde's difference is that they both design and build their works, which allows for a creative continuity which shows in the quality of their work. They aim to select natural and sustainable materials and often work with wood, metal and stone.
Sean Kellett and Billy Hornof Sean&Horn craft high quality, considered, and refined objects using both traditional methods and more modern CNC routing equipment. This combination of hand skill and cutting edge tools gives them a wide spectrum in which to explore and create.
[S&H] We just really like exploring ideas of what we can make, and you learn a lot about the materials in the process. It takes a bit of engineering and you learn little bits and pieces along the way while trying things.
Their small studio allows them to take risks and explore ideas that may not be possible in a larger or more commercial environment.
[S&H] Everything doesn't have to be immediately commercial, so things that start out so delicately as ideas can develop into something without being snuffed out. It leads in directions that you don't expect.
After displaying their works in various outlets and online, the teams behind Shop Furniture wanted to interact more directly with their customers and get to know them a bit more.
[S&H] By putting it in the shop you actually have people walk in, and you can see people observing things through the windows and you can get a sense of how they're reacting to things. You can talk to them and find out what they like and don't like - rather than imagining it.
MM: Define your business in three words
[K] Our three words were quality, hand-crafted and functional.
[IH] Simple, functional, thoughtful.
[S&H] I think if I had to pick three words it would be 'once upon a time' - that might be four words.
MM: What's your favourite holiday destination
[K] Japan. I'm from Helskinki so we go back there quite a bit. My favourite place is my family's summer house by the lake. In summer that's our place to disconnect.
[S&H] We're going to NY in a week or two which is exciting.
MM: Where do you get your best coffee?
[S&H] Ici, which opened maybe a year ago. It's got a French name and it lives up to it. It just does all the little things right, and all the people who work there make you want to be there. Everything is always just right.
[editors note: ICI is now called Napier Quarter]
[K] There's quite a few around but Padre is probably our go to.
MM: What about dinner?
[S&H] Bar Idda - it's Sicilian food and it's delicious.
MM: What are your plans for the future?
[K] We want to open another showroom at some point, probably focusing on joinery, kitchens, or more architectural joinery. We're very happy with where we are now, but that would be the next step for us.
[S&H] Our future hopefully involves designing more of our own products. Hopefully this shop will be a catalyst for that aspect of our business. I think it's already making a big difference. Seeing the way people respond to the stuff you have in here definitely makes you more hungry to take the ideas and the things you have on the shelf and develop them further and then bring them in here and see what reaction they get.
[K] Idle Hands have a similar idea too. They have a collection now which they're showing at Denfair which they've got heaps of good feedback for. They're working on their next collection and they will probably be quite busy with that.