Loose Leaf

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Monday 19th May 2014


New florist / plant store / workshop space Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


New florist / plant store / workshop space Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Floral designer Wona Bae in her workshop at Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Wona weaves a beautiful vessel at Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler in their new studio / store, Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler in their new studio / store, Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.

Oh my.  How special and supremely photogenic is this brand new floral studio / plant store in Collingwood!?  SO beautiful.  Loose Leaf opened just last month, a collaboration between partners Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler, 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, and their dream for Loose Leaf has been bubbling away for quite some time. When they found this versatile warehouse in Sackville Street, Collingwood, they knew it was the perfect place to realise their vision. ‘Loose Leaf exists as a platform to enable ourselves and others to make and experiment creatively with nature’ says Wona.

Loose Leaf combines both a carefully considered retail space, along with Wona’s sculpture studio – a dedicated space for her practice and workshops. She and Charlie also have plans to soon tie a publishing element to their business – their first project is well underway, a publication that continues to explore the ethos of Loose Leaf in print!

We were so intrigued by this creative pair , we thought we’d ask them a few further questions about their partnership, and the launch of their inspired retail / workshop space, Loose Leaf! –

Briefly tell us a little bit about yourselves – what were you each doing before you opened Loose Leaf, and what path led you to this new venture?

Wona Bae: I grew up in South Korea and was always destined to work with flowers and plants. My father’s passion is flowers – I grew up on his flower farm and have lived and worked in different areas of the flower industry ever since. I rebelled for a while and studied a BA in Fashion Design, but ultimately my heart was with flowers, and after graduating from fashion I enrolled directly in a horticulture degree, followed by a master of floristry in Germany.

Having learned the art of Kokozi (Korean style Ikebana) in South Korea, I went to Germany and studied under the guidance of master florist Ursula Wegener. It was in Germany that I met Charlie and in 2007 we moved back to Australia together. I guess I bring a unique perspective to Australian floristry, mixing the minimalist harmony of my Korean roots with the natural sculptural techniques I honed in Germany. This combined with the amazing array of local material available in Australia has allowed me to explore my design style in an Australian context.

So far my experimental style has been well received in Australia, I’ve been blessed to work with some of Australia’s top brands which has led to collaborations with L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and most recently with Akira Isogawa at The Royal Botanic Runway. I was honoured to twice win gold at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, in 2010 and 2011. I have also been lucky enough to pursue my sculpture outside of floristry the highlight of which has to be having my work displayed in the grounds at Heide MoMa.

Loose Leaf was the natural progression and it finally gave Charlie and I an opportunity to pursue something that we are passionate about together.

Charlie Lawler: I grew up in Hobart, Tasmania, and like Wona was lucky enough to be shown the beauty of plants from a young age. My grandparents owned a nursery and I spent a lot of time hanging out there with them, I guess my interest in plants grew under their guidance. I also pursued design before coming back to plants, I studied a Master of Design at RMIT before returning to study permaculture design.

I had worked in various design and communication roles with organisations like The United Nations and Tourism Victoria before forming my own design studio, Open Season, with fellow Tasmanian and old friend Seb Godfrey of Deja-View Cinema. We are primarily a design and branding studio with a focus on experiential brand projects.

I now balance my time between Open Season and Loose Leaf. As Wona said, Loose Leaf is the culmination of a long awaited collaboration between us.

What can we expect to see when visiting Loose Leaf?

Loose Leaf is literally the dream space for us! We’ve tried to create a beautiful, leafy haven in the heart of Collingwood. When you come in you can expect to find fresh flowers from Wona’s morning market trip, a jungle of plants suspended from the walls and ceiling – mostly tranquil, sometimes a little chaotic but never something not going on.

What’s next for Loose Leaf!?

We have big plans for Loose Leaf! While we hope to continue to grow our collection of plants, flowers and other unique products, Wona has already started teaching regular floral art classes kicking off with her Autumn workshops series.

In the meantime, Charlie and collaborator George Foulds are already working on issue one of Loose Leaf Journal (with a seasonal theme the first issue explores the magic of mushrooms!). Looking forward we’re all about collaborations – stay tuned over the coming months!

Loose Leaf
31 Sackville Street
Collingwood, VIC

Open Tuesday to Saturday from 9.00am to 6.00pm.


Pretty details at Loose Leaf in Collingwood. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Details at Loose Leaf in Collingwood. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


Beautiful blooms at Loose Leaf. Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.


New florist / plant store Loose Leaf in Collingwood, Melbourne. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Monday 19th May 2014


  • Rachel Castle 2 years ago

    I want to live here very badly. It is so so so beautiful. x

  • The Yellow Dance Spot 2 years ago

    Love their passion. Looks exquisite, can’t wait to visit!

  • Jess 2 years ago

    Beautiful studio, cute couple, love everything!

  • Courtney 2 years ago

    I want to live in that studio, it all looks gorgeous. Fresh, green and so many different shapes and textures…a wonderland :) Defiantly going to visit!

  • Ann 2 years ago

    Gorgeous spot and a great couple. Wona’s work is amazing. Another great find.

  • Sophie Utopia 2 years ago

    So keen on green. I love this loose leaf. x

  • Jessamy 2 years ago

    It’s on my must visit list now!

  • Dana 2 years ago

    Great to see awesome talent like Wona and Charlie on TDF. One of my favourite spaces in Melbourne shot beautifully.

  • Sophie 2 years ago

    Nailed it!! Congrats Charlie and Wona the space and concept is awesome!! Can’t wait to do another workshop with you Wona!

  • bec 2 years ago

    my dream work space.. I used to Live on Sackville, I might just move back in to walk past this every day Great post!

  • Corner Story 2 years ago

    Beautiful, fresh space!

  • fiona duke 2 years ago

    i love that space ! – how inspiring and just totally gorgeous is that ….wouldn’t mind going to work so much would you :)

  • Lauren 2 years ago

    How clever. You just can’t find this stuff without visiting your old suburban nursery and they just don’t get it. I hope you guys will stock fiddle leaf fig trees as they always sell out of the nurseries. Can’t wait to visit!

  • Christian Wagtsaff 2 years ago

    I have known Wona Bae for some years. She is one of the most extraordinary talents in this city. Congratulations Wona and Charlie. I so look forward to dropping in to say hello.

  • Regina 2 years ago

    Congrats Wona and Chatrlie! Loving the Work!

  • JAMES GORDON 2 years ago


  • AMANDA 2 years ago

    Close to home-woohoo

  • Jude McGrath 2 years ago

    Congratulations Wona I wish you and your partner all the best for you future. Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday 22nd. Regards Jude

  • Di Cordiner 2 years ago

    Wona and Charlie, your studio is such an inspiring place and the bouquet you made for me exquisite in colour and form. We wish you a wonderful future. Regards, Roy and Di.

  • Di Cordiner 2 years ago

    Inspiring space. Would love to do a workshop or two with you Wona.

  • Theresia Jerzyk 2 years ago

    I’m a 50 something year old…..I had a lot of the plants (which Wona and Charlie sell now) in the late 70’s and during the 80’s. I am blown away at the space and business they have created together.
    Walk into Looseleaf, and it’s a restful and green oasis….. With Wona and Charlie having full knowledge on all aspects of plants and flowers. Unbelievable!
    If only I lived in Victoria……. Tassie won’t allow these plants/flowers into the state.
    Good luck guys.

  • Helen Patrikios 1 year ago

    Hi ,
    Are you conducting any daytime floral workshops in the near future?
    Thanks , local resident , with some floristry experience . Helen

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