Jamie Durie’s more known for his work outdoors than indoors, but all that’s about to change with his first furniture range for Riva 1920. I had the pleasure of interviewing the TV personality at Sydney InDesign last weekend.
As if Jamie, who lives between LA and Sydney, didn’t already have enough TV shows, books, successful businesses and garden design awards to his name, he now has a luxury furniture range, and a very good looking, sustainable one at that. He’s being going to the Milan Furniture Fair for 7 years now, so when Italian brand Riva 1920 approached him, he arranged to meet them on home turf, tour their studio and factory and meet members of the family. “I was over the moon to be asked. It’s very exciting.”
Jamie, whose celebrity fans include Charlize Theron, had designed custom indoor pieces for clients in the past but this is his first ever commercial range. He does of course have his budget outdoor range for Big W, and the sneak peek he gave me of the next collection looked fantastic. “With outdoor furniture there are a lot of challenges with the elements. Indoors, you have a much wider scope of materials and a much bigger audience. Not everyone has an outdoor space but everyone has an indoors,” he told me.
Riva’s focus on sustainability, using a lot of reclaimed and recycled timber, appealed to Jamie, and he admits, as an outdoorsy person, that timber is a very natural material for him to work with.
The Jamie Durie for Riva 1920 bespoke collection features 5 pieces, including the Ficus and Bungalow Stools, Tubular Shelves and Table and Fur-Nature Modular Sofa all maintaining the Riva 1920 heritage and aesthetic, using reforestation timber, American Walnut and Cedarwood with all styles finished with natural oil. The collaboration was born thanks to the philosophy and principles shared by the 2 companies: environmental sustainability, designing products made of natural and recycled materials, keeping in mind that the design and the respect for the environment are tied together.
Even Jamie’s been surprised by how passionate he has come to be about designing furniture. “You’re never going to get me out of the garden, however I love designing furniture. I never thought I’d say that! As a designer it’s very gratifying to make something, like a chair, and know it’s going to remain exactly as you intended it to. That isn’t always the case with gardens! You walk away from a job and you don’t really know what’s going to happen to it. The biggest advantage of furniture design is that one piece can touch 100,000 people whereas a garden only really ever touches one family. That feels good.”
Jamie has plenty more on his plate and never stops flying around the globe! He’s just filmed a series of specials for Channel 9’s Getaway, he has a new book coming out with Penguin on designing with edible plants (nice niche!) and his new Big W collection will be launched in the spring.
The Jamie Durie for Riva 1920 range is available in Australia exclusively through Fanuli Furniture.