Challenging the misconception that locally made furniture is out of reach of most people, Melbourne company Crafter produces a gorgeous range of custom-made pieces in collaboration with local Melbourne designers, craftspeople and artists – all with affordable price tags to boot.
“Our aim is to develop collaborations that see an end to the churn of ‘fast furniture’ and see a return to purchasing locally-made sustainable products that don’t cost the earth and are made to last. No pretence, delusions of grandeur, or hype. I like to call it honest furniture,” says Crafter director Adrian Galiazzo.
Having spent close to 20 years in the furniture business, sourcing and developing products for some of Australia’s largest retail chains, Adrian grew tired of the homogenisation he increasingly saw. “Just like McDonald’s can fill the spot on the odd occasion, cheaply made mass-produced furniture has its place in society, however we’ve lost the balance between supply and demand. The growth of big box retail chains have slowly but surely cheapened and homogenised the options, to the point where you could travel across the city and visit 20 furniture shopping centres and find the same 20 retailers with exactly the same product. Thankfully now more people are actively seeking out alternatives,” says Adrian.
But what of the many people who would like to purchase locally made furniture, but feel they can’t afford it? “There’s a misconception that Australian made products are far more expensive than imports. It all depends on the materials, design and size that you want,” says Adrian who, rather impressively, sells a solid Victorian Ash timber table (1800mm x 900mm) for $1500 and a two-seat sofa starting from $1300. “These pieces are made right here in Melbourne and with quality standards that would more than likely exceed those of imports. Plus, if the Australian dollar continues to fall against the US currency as predicted, we’ll start to see the price of imported products rise even further,” says Adrian – a situation that will make buying locally even more attractive.
Buying locally and quality issues aside, it’s the customisation options that Crafter offer that are truly exciting. “Our furniture has no restrictions and I think that will be key to our success. If you want it bigger, smaller or in a shade of pink, it’s no problem. If you’re into Australian recycled/reclaimed timbers that’s fine, we can make product such as cabinetry from those materials. If you need a durable melamine veneer we can produce in that. We’re not just mid-century fanatics, nor are we fixated on recycled timber. Plus, we work with some of the best local industrial designers,” says Adrian who cites lighting designer Ilan El, stylist Debra Bowen and ceramicists Tracey Muirhead and Vanessa Lucas as collaborators.
In what is a true customisation service, customers don’t just have the choice of three sizes, colours or fabrics. “Our sofas can be any width, height and depth you need them to be, any configuration, any covering whether it be fabric or leather, any arm thickness and shape, and any feel,” says Adrian.
Crafter can also make tables to custom specifications – the size, stain, painted finish and timber species are all up to you. “And if you have a specific design you want made, we can do that as well,” says Adrian.