AFDA talks to Tony Russell

Tell us about your experience in furniture.

My experience with furniture and its design began with Stylecraft. I have worked in different roles during my time at Stylecraft, which has given me an understanding of our clients expectations and the balance that is required within our product mix. Our local furniture designers are so knowledgeable and passionate in their craft, that every new product collection we collaborate on is a new experience.

What do you look for when sourcing products for Stylecraft?

There are a few criteria I look at when sourcing products. First and foremost, it needs to fulfil a need or a brief within our product portfolio. Products that can be used across a variety of uses in commercial, hospitality and residential areas are always important. As Stylecraft is a founding member of the ADA (Authentic Design Alliance), the product also needs to be of an original design. Sustainability in the use of materials is also a major factor, together with the product being of perceived value to our clients. An important factor in Stylecraft’s positioning within the market is that there are no shocks when it comes to price points, and that our clients can fairly judge a products worth based on design, manufacturing and materials. Feedback from our clients and sales team is also of upmost importance when it comes to putting together ranges.

How important is it to develop Australian design talent?

Developing and nurturing design talent in Australia is important; this has a flow on effect to our local manufacturers. Stylecraft have been working with many of our existing manufacturers for over 20 years, and it is a sense of pride for us to see how they have grown during the time of our partnership. The exciting component of AFDA is the opportunity for residency at the JamFactory to see a variety of manufacturing techniques and processes and to understand the commercial process that goes into developing a furniture range.

What would be one of the most inspiring locations that you’ve travelled to and why?

The overseas furniture fairs in Milan and Germany are always a source of inspiration but often more so in terms of finishes than the actual furniture design. This is also true of cities throughout Europe where there is a richness in the historic architecture and composition of the cities. Without being too parochial, Australia is a great source of inspiration.  We are so innovative in many ways when it comes to evolving workplace design, that often the best source of inspiration is working on providing a solution to suit our clients requirements.