Listopedia: The Design Files Melbourne Hot List
At The Design Files we’re all about Australian design, especially when it comes to local creative happenings. We’re particularly passionate about local retail – we love stumbling across unique furnishings, homewares, accessories and gifts created and curated thoughtfully by clever local people.
This is our round up of favourite shopping spots in Melbourne for all things home/ decor/creative! I’m loathe to call it a ‘Top Ten’, as it’s so hard to choose ten favourites among Melbourne’s many diverse offerings, but if you find yourself in Melbourne with a day or so set aside for some serious retail therapy, this is where we’d start!
Melbourne’s most colourful design duo are Bonnie Ashley and Neil Downie, aka “Bonnie and Neil”, partners in both life and business. These guys are a brilliantly clever, hardworking pair who create all manner of vibrant soft furnishings, cushions, prints and table linen from their studio in Brunswick.
Having grown their little homewares business exponentially over the past five years, Bonnie and Neil now have more than 80 stockists in Australia and 18 international retailers too! This year the pair have also opened their first ever retail store. Attached to their new headquarters in Brunswick, it’s a beauty, and we’re proud as punch. 121A Donald Street, Brunswick
New Zealand based lighting/furniture design studio Douglas and Bec have nestled very comfortably into Melbourne’s design scene with their beautiful Collingwood showroom, which opened in 2014. Headed up by husband and wife team Bec and Paul Dowie, alongside Bec’s father Douglas Snelling, Douglas and Bec creates a distinctive, pared back range of lighting and furniture made in New Zealand, and also run their very own gorgeous little retail store in Ponsonby, Auckland. Their Melbourne store stocks all their own furniture and lighting designs, alongside a smattering of beautifully curated accessories and gifts by international designers such as Iacoli & McAllister, and Ladies & Gentlemen. 30-32 Easey Street, Collingwood
It’s always special when local makers join forces to create a retail presence for themselves. Such is the case with Melbourne homewares store Guild of Objects – a collaboration between three likeminded ceramicists Brooke Thorn, Chela Edmunds and Tao Oudomvilay. The impetus for opening a retail store came about after Brooke, Chela and Tao ran a number of successful ‘Open Studio’ days at their shared ceramics studio.
As well as stocking their own creations, Guild of Objects stocks beautiful pieces by other local makers. These include ceramics by Tessy King, Jessilla Rogers and Alison Frith among others, a sweet edit of clothing by local designers including Primozea, inside/outside and S U N D A Y, jewellery by Seb Brown, Ellinor Mazza and Melanie Rice, hanging planters and lights by Smalltown, and rope vessels by Gemma Patford. Almost everything here is unique, handcrafted and one of a kind. 690 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Melbourne based furniture manufacturer Jardan started in 1987, and was taken over by the Garnham family in 1997. At that time there were just eight employees, but under the direction of the creative and entrepreneurial Garnham brothers, the business soon grew, and now employs more than 100 people, with showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. They still make all their furniture right here in Melbourne, to stringent environmental standards.
Jardan are one of the most impressive local family run businesses we know. Their impressive Richmond flagship store is set over two levels, stocking Jardan’s own range of beautiful locally made furniture and homewares alongside accessories, lighting and artwork by other local brands and creatives. 522 Church Street, Richmond
Cindy-Lee Davies is the Melbourne designer and entrepreneur behind homewares brand Lightly, which first launched way back in 2005. Based from a colourful headquarters with attached retail showroom in Collingwood, Lightly designs and manufactures a varied collection of more than 100 products for the home, and stocks retailers across Australia and internationally. The business has even collaborated with major international brands including Anthropologie and Kate Spade. Cindy-Lee still designs every item herself, supported by a close-knit team of staff.
Alongside their own products, the Lightly retail space in Collingwood also stocks a stylish edit of homewares and designer pieces by both local and international brands. 3 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
Loose Leaf is a lush and supremely photogenic floral studio and plant store in an unlikely industrial backstreet in Collingwood. The business is a collaboration between husband and wife team Charlie Lawler and Wona Bae, whose extensive combined career experience includes floristry, horticulture, permaculture and design.
Each from varied backgrounds but connected by a passion for plants, Wona and Charlie are inspired by the therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature. Their dream for Loose Leaf has been bubbling away for quite some time. When they found a versatile warehouse in Sackville Street, Collingwood up for lease, they knew it was the perfect place to realise their vision. Loose Leaf combines both a carefully considered retail space, along with Wona’s sculpture studio – a dedicated space for her practice and regular workshops. ‘Loose Leaf exists as a platform to enable ourselves and others to make and experiment creatively with nature’ says Wona. 31 Sackville Street, Collingwood
Modern Times is a super popular Melbourne store striking a brilliant balance between vintage and classic design pieces sourced in Europe, and an impressive collection of artwork and handcrafted accessories by Australian artists and makers. In recent years they’ve ramped up the local offering, and currently stock the work of over 40 Australian artists and makers. The result is a shop with unique appeal, that really champions local design.
Another husband and wife team are behind this much loved local enterprise – Amy and Joel Malin’s creative vision and personal approach has made Modern Times one of Melbourne’s favourite furniture and design stockists. 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson are Pop & Scott, partners in life and business, and the driving force behind the Pop & Scott workshop and retail showroom in Northcote. Together, Poppy and Scott design and make a range of plant pots, handcrafted furniture and pendant lights. Their retail space, though, is a collaboration with more than 15 other local creatives. The space showcases an incredible array of locally crafted furniture, homewares and artwork, including ceramics and lighting by Anchor Ceramics and Amy Leeworthy, furniture by Cenzo Design, Sime Nugent, Pono Furniture, 2nd Chance Tables and of course Pop & Scott, bespoke aprons by Carpenter’s Daughter, handpainted bedlinen by The Vallentine Project, Pampa Rugs, artwork and photography by Lisa Sorgini, Jessica Tremp and Bobby + Tide, and New Complexity guitars. If you like your furniture and homewares locally made with love and a real sense of community, this is your kinda place! 27 Hayes Street, Northcote
On face value, Third Drawer Down may appear as a simple retail offering – a fun and colourful gift shop in two Melbourne locations, stocking all kinds of wonderful and slightly wacky gifts, homewares and other goodies. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Third Drawer Down is both a retail company and a design studio, specialising in the design and production of art and museum merchandise. Abigail Crompton and her team work extensively with both local and international artists to produce an enormous catalogue of products such as homewares, prints, tea towels, bedlinen, tableware and giftware. They work on bespoke projects for specific art museums such as the Tate in London, and also create their own brand of products which they distribute globally. Beneath that cute and crafty facade, Third Drawer Down is a seriously impressive international operation! It’s also our number one destination for affordable gifts and quirky home accessories. Fitzroy – 93 George Street, Fitzroy, Prahran Store – 155 Greville Street, Prahran
Mr Kitly is a unique and much loved Melbourne store tucked away up a non-descript stairwell above the hustle and bustle of Sydney road in Brunswick. Proprietor Bree Claffey is a self confessed Japanophile, and after five years spent living in Japan in her formative twenties, she returned home with the desire to combine her love of handcrafted ceramics and plants. The result was Mr Kitly, a combined retail store and gallery space with a strong focus on handcrafted ceramics, Japanese homewares and indoor plants. ‘Living in Japan strongly influenced my aesthetic tastes and instilled in me an innate sympathy for small, esoteric shops and spaces’ says Bree. ‘I hope Mr Kitly channels that a little bit.’ 381 Sydney Road (upstairs), Brunswick
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