“I see our pieces as not just furniture but sculptural pieces and talking points. Our furniture is not for everybody, but I’m not interested in creating pieces for everyone either,” says Byron Georgouras of Sydney’s Alpha Modern. Originally kicking off as a vintage furniture restoration business, in a full circle move, Byron now designs an original range inspired by the same pieces. And, when you look at the Alpha Modern range as a collective, the new pieces sit very harmoniously with the old.
“We definitely put a more contemporary slant on the older pieces and a vintage slant on the new ones,” says Byron who explains that 50% of the pieces are restoration works and 50% are brand new. Alpha Modern’s latest series is the Puff collection which is a great example of how vintage designer pieces inform what they do now.
“My background is in the music industry, events and brand activation. I used to do a lot of the Smirnoff tents at Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass,” says Byron who came to Alpha Modern when his events career stalled due to the pandemic. But besides creating spaces and experiences, Byron has always collected designer furniture, sculptures and artwork and happened to grow up sailing and working on timber boats too – an experience that put him in good stead in the furniture restoration business.
“Fundamentally there’s not that much of a difference between restoring a timber sailing boat and a mid-century lounge. You must strip both back, refinish them and repair the joinery,” he says.
Sustainability is an important part of the business too and Alpha Modern uses sustainable Australian timbers, non-toxic products and locally sourced fabrics where possible. “We’re very conscious of our imprint and that’s a big thing for us – it’s a part of our DNA,” says Byron who sources primarily Scandinavian and Italian vintage pieces, often through clients that are looking to change up their interiors.
The brand’s Angelis range is truly unique – it uses brightly coloured 1960s vintage Italian wedding tapestries for the seat upholstery combined with a curved sofa design. “There was a custom that Italian newlyweds would be given a beautiful velvet tapestry as a family heirloom. They are essentially a bedspread, but they never got used and were often put away boxed in cupboards,” says Byron who sources the tapestries from Italy before giving them a new lease of life.
“Overall, all I’d say our aesthetic is one of maximalism in a modernist world. We use bright pops of playful colour and work with textiles that are bold and exciting but we also pay tribute to classic forms.”