Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview - Phillip Graham of Tarlo and Graham

Taxidermy + industrial furniture + vintage French posters + antique medical paraphernalia + art deco lighting = Tarlo and Graham!

Love T&G's antique iron gates...

Wowsers. Lots of eye-candy to share this morning!

Today I feel so lucky to be able to share with you an interview with Phillip Graham, co-owner of Melbourne's wonderful Tarlo and Graham in Chapel st Windsor.

I would venture to say that there is no other store quite like Tarlo and Graham. Whilst vintage and industrial furniture is becoming more and more popular and collectable - no one quite does it like Phillip Graham and his business partner William Tarlo! A visit to T&G always uncovers something unexpected. Don't be surprised to find yourself coveting a tangled collection of traffic lights or a pair of antique skis after a visit to their store! Phillip and William have an incredible knack for buying and styling their store in a way that makes you see the most unusul of objects in an entirely new light. Truly! There's no one else who brings together such an eclectic and varied collection in the most spectacularly beautiful way.

Below Phillip shares some of his styling secrets (volume and repetition - simple, genius!)... AND we get a little peek into his own home, which showcases his passion for Australian contemporary art.

Ooh la la. It's all a bit much. Too beautiful.... Agghh!

ps) If you're hungry for even more images there is a great set of Tarlo and Graham photos on Flickr. (They belong to Daniel Neville of the Nevolution blog).

Tell me a little about your background - what path led you to what you’re doing now?

Tarlo & Graham opened 5 years ago, and for 8 years prior to that I ran The White Elephant in St Kilda. Previous to this I worked mainly in retail, originally at Country Road in the late 80’s and Giorgio Armani in London in the early 90’s. As well as sales I was involved with visual merchandising for both companies, which helped me develop my own skills in the importance of store presentation and understanding the power of placement.

I have always been interested in design, interiors, collecting, brands, trends etc. I am most interested in searching out ‘the different’. I appreciate it when people make an effort to present their stores in a way not seen before. There is too much bland out there and not enough newness. I like it when people push their imagination to create truly unique stores, interiors etc.

There are more and more shops selling vintage and industrial furniture these days…. but Tarlo & Graham truly stands out from the crowd. What do you think sets you apart from other stores with similar stock?

Come on Lucy, that’s an easy one, that’s the whole point of the interview isn’t it?! That’s what I want to come out most strongly from this whole thing. We are determined to be different, we work hard to present our business in such a way that the market can come in and really embrace and enjoy.

It’s all about -

1. product selection

2. presentation

3. placement

4. point of difference

And of course our windows. That is an area of self-expression which we push sometimes as far as we can depending on what we are interested in at the time.

For me, with interiors retailing for a business such as ours, the main area of focus is in the grouping of objects. It’s almost like picking a group of five completely different things (trying to select items that have no clear relationship with each other) and then throwing them up in the air and seeing how they land. Well, not exactly, but if you imagine the concept you will know what I mean. The message is putting items together that will really contrast with the next. If the piece in question is beautiful enough, or has some intrinsic quality or rarity, it should always stand up and easily find its place. Then there’s our obsession with volume and repetition. What I mean by that is the impact created by multiples is much stronger than a single item. Take for example a bag of marbles, compared with a table full of 2000 marbles. Or a collection of 50 matchboxes compared with 10 large glass vessels containing 1000 matchboxes – which looks better?

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

There is no typical day. We generally buy furniture and objects everyday, if we don’t we will definitely look at something. This could come from appointments we have organised with people, or working with other dealers and collectors to obtain stock. Going to auctions, markets, shops, homes – anywhere we can come across the next big thing.

Then there is time spent in the store. William (Tarlo, my business partner) and I divide the week and work 4 days each. We may also spend time preparing stock for sale, dealing with restorers, framers, upholsterers etc.

How are the tasks at the shop divided between you and William? Do you share the fun stuff (ie window display etc) with the boring stuff equally? How are your different strengths balanced within the business?

William and I share the job of styling/presenting the shop and creating windows. This is important for us both to be involved in, as this is what we both enjoy, are good at, and it is our form of self-expression. We share the boring stuff too.

How would you describe your own style of interior decorating at home – as compared to the eclecticism of your shop?

My interior has a strong focus on Australian art. I have been collecting contemporary art for over 10 years now and spend a lot of my spare time researching, going to exhibitions and acquiring some truly beautiful paintings, works on paper and sculpture. Subsequently my apartment walls are filled ‘salon style’ head to toe with as many as I can fit in. There is barely a square centimetre left now. My collection gives me immense pleasure and in a way gives me a break from what we concentrate on at Tarlo & Graham.

In saying that there is still a strong connection with what you would see in our store. There are a lot of objects, ideas at home that are represented in the shop. I sometimes need to live with something before I let it go.

Phillip's apartment is filled with contemporary Australian art... Wow. Beautiful.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

I could probably write a book on the answer to this question. Where do you start? Is it artists, designers, architects, musicians, actors….I could probably write a page on each, but as I have to summarise and give a definitive answer, the top of my list would be David Bromley. I started selling furniture to David some 10 years ago whilst he was still living in Adelaide. He, like William and I, is an obsessive collector with a wonderful eye. These days we just swap things, we always have something the other covets. My apartment is full of objects, furniture and art from David, and vice versa. David’s workload, drive and output are immense; he is a true artist whose mantra is ‘there is much to be done’. I have had the pleasure of sitting through the night watching David paint. These are truly memorable experiences – to see a canvas come to life is a real joy. He once said to me he has about 20 years of sleep to catch up on! And he has taught me ‘anything is possible’. There is virtually nothing in the creative field he will not explore. Aside from paintings, sculpture and ceramics, David has and continues to create furniture, films, lighting, music videos, interior projects, wallpaper, fabrics - the long list goes on. He is currently working on a luggage and accessories range all covered in his typical painted style, as well as a series of childrens books. It is this list, and the person, that I find truly inspiring.

Where else do you find inspiration – ie books, fine art, your environment, travel, your family and friends?

Inspiration is everywhere, isn’t it?

What’s the best thing about your job?

Having a job that allows me to constantly create interesting installations, and seeing literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different things each week and being able to buy a select few. It’s like constantly shopping!

And the worst?

There’s not much about my job I don’t enjoy.

What are you looking forward to?

The future.

Melbourne Questions

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Dinner at the Windsor Castle.

Best shops in Melbourne for furniture and interiors pieces (except your own shop!)?

Art: Karen Woodbury Gallery, Helen Gory Gallerie, Galerie Montmartre.

Furniture: A Day On Earth, Angelucci, Geoffrey Hatty (Malvern rd, Prahran), Industria (Gertrude st Fitzroy), Le Contraste, Workshop Industrial (Abbotsford).

Incredible clothing: Eastern Market.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

I always work Saturdays.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret!
The beautiful taxidermy giraffe at the Carlton Hotel in the city.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Woot 'n Wright

Amy and Jess of Woot 'n Wright are a Melbourne based creative partnership who make one-of-a-kind handmade and printed textiles, cushions, bags and leather satchels out of their studio in Albert Park. Woot'n Wright is one part textile designer and painter (one girl - Amy) and a shoemaker/industrial designer (one boy - Jess).

Yes that's right - one girl, one boy. Easy to confuse so I'm glad Amy and Jess made it super clear they are not 2 girls, as I almost definitely would have assumed. (How awful to realise I would jump to that conclusion so easily!? Sorry Jess!)

Amy Wright and Jess Cameron-Wootten were working corporate design jobs and looking for creative outlets to explore their passion for handmade quality products. With design backgrounds in textile design, botanical painting, and industrial design, and having a shared aesthetic and design ethos, it was a logical step to join forces!

Amy is responsible for the illustrative design direction, uses traditional methods to translate paper art into screen prints. Amy has a passion for hand-drawn detail and rarely uses a computer to develop her patterns. She says she loves the 'quirky imperfections and truthfulness of hand drawn designs.’ I especially like her urban Melbourne landcapes - including depictions of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and the City (including landmarks such as Richmond's Nylex sign!). You can check out more of Amy's work on her illustration blog here.

Jess applies his contemporary Industrial Design skills to traditional artisan craft, and loves being involved in every step of the manufacturing process. Woot’n Wright's goal is to create beautiful, quality products using traditional skills.

Woot'n Wright will be at 'Style After Dark'
South Melbourne Market, Thursday 28 (TODAY!) 5:30pm-9:30pm

Amy Wright will be having a solo exhibition at 'HUSK' Albert Park Store in August

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tessuti Fabrics - new Melbourne store!

Tessuti Fabrics - recently opened Melbourne showroom!

Tessuti fabrics - these currently available in the Tessuti online shop

Received a lovely email recently from previously Sydney-based Tessuti fabrics, who have just opened a gorgeous new store in Flinders Lane, Melbourne! The space looks stunning doesn't it?

Tessuti Fabrics was established in Sydney in 1992, opening their first store in Chatswood in Sydney. Since then, the company has expanded with stores in Surry Hills, Bondi Junction and now Melbourne!

Tessuti has an incredible range of fabrics including local designer ends such as Josh Goot, Karen Walker, Zimmermann, Cue, Veronika Maine, Collette Dinnigan and Mad Cortes! In addition to these, a high quality fabric range is regularly imported from Europe (Chanel, Missoni, Armani, Etro, etc.) and Japan... aaagghhhh.

Tessuti caters for dressmakers, fashion students, lovers of fashion and crafters alike... and all fashion students are entitled to a 10% discount! Nice.

Tessuti Melbourne has a lovely blog too... and if you can't make it into town just yet to visit the brand new showroom, you can also shop online here.

Tessuti Fabrics
Ground Floor, 141 Flinders Lane

Melbourne CBD

03 9654 4566

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Melbourne Home - Neryl Walker

Remember a little while ago I posted about illustrator Neryl Walker's stunning Home Beautiful kitchen makeover?

Well, the gorgeous before and after shots got me more than a little curious about the rest of Neryl's home... so I asked if she would share some more of her beautiful 1950's-inspired pad in East St Kilda. Lucky for us Neryl has generously shared a shot of almost every room in the house... and is it just me or is every room absolute gold!?

Not everyone could pull off such a stylised home... but it seems Neryl was perhaps born into the wrong era! The pink and green bathroom.... agghhhhh tooo gorgeous! It's so nice to see all the original 50's features proudly shown off, rather than ripped out and replaced with contemporary, generic cabinetry and fittings! Even the brand new, somewhat space-age(!) kitchen has maintained Neryl's unique sense of style and retro-inspired detailing.

Aaaaghh. Cutest bathroom in the WORLD? Perhaps?

It all feels fabulously technicolour... like a set from Bewitched or I dream of Jeannie - only a little more rock 'n roll!

Love your work Neryl! Thanks so much for sharing! xx

A cluttered hallway never looked so good...

Neryl's workspace - those are her paintings up top.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Does not Equal

Dual Chain Reflections necklace by Does not Equal - AU$99.00

Dual Flags necklace - AU$79.00 and Triple Medallion necklace - AU$89.00

Does not Equal is a unique Melbourne jewelery & accessories label run by designer Charisse Black. Charisse graduated from RMIT in 2007 with a Bachelor of Communication Design, and started her jewellery design business soon after graduating, with the goal of producing distinctive jewellery for the male market. There's still so little jewellery designed exclusively for men, it's great to see a savvy young designer pouncing on this gap in the market!

Charisse's work is characterised by strong, clean lines and geometric design elements. "Black Truth/ White Lies" is her latest range - a 20 piece unisex collection which draws inspiration from the balance between light and dark, good and bad, truth and lies.

Charisse's creative influences stem from many different disciplines... she's drawn to the Scandinavian lifestyle and their design aesthetic, from fashion to interiors. She admires labels like Acne, Resterods, Surface to Air, and Rickard Lindqvist.

Does not Equal is available online, and in the coming months will be available in selected boutiques across Australia. In Melbourne they can currently be found at Rude Health (17 Irwell street St Kilda) and ComeBack Kid (Level 1, 8 Rankins Lane CBD - opening sometime this month!).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Claire Nereim - new things

Claire Nereim's limited edition print for the Australian-based online store Baker's Dozen

DO you remember US graphic artist/illustrator Claire Nereim ? (I first blogged about her here and here) Love her work. So restrained, so clever and thoughtful.

Love her posters.
Love her illustrated calenders.
Love her experiments with type...

Type formed from a ribbon of cut paper featured in PAPER magazine.

Love love love.

Recently Claire designed an exclusive print for the Australian-based online store Baker's Dozen, who invite artists and makers to create beautiful things in editions of 13.

ALSO Claire has printed a third edition of her stunning Seasonal Fruits 'Forever Calender' due to it's overwhelming popularity! They're available on Etsy - only 3 copies left!!

Seasonal Fruits 'forever calender' and Flowering Trees print by Claire Nereim

Claire has a blog here. And an Etsy shop here.

ps) Sorry no interview today. Got a few in the works but been having some delays chasing up the answers and images etc... sorry!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How They Work

I finally bought 'How they work - the Hidden world of Dutch Design' by Inga Powilleit and international super-stylist Tatjana Quax!

Agggh. It is so SO great. Beautifullllllll.

Unfortunately I had to order it in from Architext in the city... how is it possible it's not available from Amazon?? Unheard of.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery award - call for entries

Trent Jansen's Kissing Pendants - co-winner of the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery last year

Edra's Massimo Morozzi, centre, flanked by the Campana brothers at last year's Design Discovery awards night in Melbourne

HEY if you're an Australian industrial/product/furniture designer then there really is no better way to launch your career than by entering the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award competition. (Remember my coverage of the finalist's work at Object Gallery last year, and the awards night in Melbourne - and Trent Jansen's beautiful kissing pendants?)

It's Australia's most prestigious design award, and the largest prize pool for a design competition in Australia. The winner gets $30,000 and a trip to Milan to attend Salone del Mobile 2010. Hello!

The competition is open to all Australian residents and they're calling for entries now. Apply online until August 15th.

Christopher Silas Neal

Illustration for the New York Times Modern Love weekly column by Christopher Silas Neal

Left - Jean Summer Music illustration, right - 'Blue Q' packaging illustration

Left - The Fillmore poster for Jose Gonzales, right - The Fillmore Poster for Kate Nash

LOVE the folio of New York-based illustrator Christopher Silas Neal. So beautiful.

Check it out!

Plansponsor Illustration
ReadyMade Illustration