Orson & Blake’s David Heimann knows a thing or two about beautiful pieces and creating gorgeous interiors but he says you should never take it all too seriously.
“People should be encouraged to feel confident about their homes. The best interiors are always fascinating due to the very personalised objects and collections,” he says. “Individuality is key to a welcoming comfortable space. Sometimes people need a little help in pulling it all together, grouping things, editing or often introducing one large strong element to ground a room or home.”
He’s not a fan of decorating a whole home to a specific theme either. “Somehow people can be a little too serious about it all. It feels right to mix it up a little, keep it slightly playful sometimes and bring soul to a space. Cookie cutter rooms feel like shopping centre spaces. Self expression pays off in spades, whether it’s using a favorite colour boldly or introducing fascinating art. Why not hang a precious painting in the loo? Place a giant tree in the bedroom or hang a chandelier in the garden!”
David’s own home is near Centennial Park in Bondi. “It feels a lot like a bowerbird’s nest, full of art, books and stuff that intrigues me. I have a mix of vintage, contemporary and ethic furniture.” He likes black interiors and beds loaded with textiles collected on travels. “I feel comfortable surrounded by interesting shapes in monochromatic tones. That’s for now anyhow. Things can change. Next month I may need intense colour somewhere.”
While Orson & Blake has long been a Sydney institution, David became a popular TV personality more recently as host of Nine’s homeMADE (alongside judges Sibella Court and Neale Whitaker). “Television was a great opportunity to work with a large team on a project that was far removed from my usual working life,” he says. “Experience in television doesn’t really change things though. I must say that I like the reality of my own day-to-day work!”
The team at Orson & Blake are currently working on their new collections for 2012. They’ll be showing them to clients and designers at decoration + design in Sydney in February. “It’s looking really interesting with a strong move towards many new colours, embracing a kind of Bloomsbury feeling. It’s familiar bohemian with a contemporary take on comfort. I particularly love the Tobacco canvas sectional sofa, piped with contrast leather and a huge circular freestanding bookcase. We’ve included brilliant colored ceramics, some exciting new tabletop and giant ikat canvas textiles in deep saturated tones.”
O&B’s Surry Hills store now includes a fashion section and more home accessories than ever before. And they recently opened a popup store in Mosman. There’s a lot more competition out there than there was when David set up O&B in Woollahra with his mother and business partner Mandy almost two decades ago.
“I think it’s great that Australians have embraced decorating, collecting and appreciating design,” says David. “There are many fabulous stores that cover a huge spectrum of tastes and themes. We consider our look a very personal one and one that we have adhered to in our 20 years. We like a mix of textures, finishes, origins and eras. We like to introduce freshness as much as possible. It keeps us intrigued and alive. Juxtaposition is key.
As far as looking about and shopping, I like nothing more than digging around in vintage stores, looking through ethnic textiles or gazing about a gallery.”
O&B’s ever evolving collection aims to embrace the mood of the time, providing interesting and functional items and objects to improve our way of living. David says: “We endeavor to make our stores a hub of all things beautiful and exciting, offering a unique blend of themes and ideas.”