It’s not everyday that an artist joins forces with an industrial designer. It’s this unusual meeting of the minds that brings a unique viewpoint to Melbourne based design studio Something Beginning With.
Visual Artist Laelie Berzon and Industrial Designer Lisa Vincitorio founded SBW in 2011. Their extensive product collection has a fun, quirky edge – and impressively, it’s almost entirely made in Melbourne.
‘To be part of the SBW family, a product needs to be sophisticated yet youthful, playful yet considered and adaptable for the market’ the pair explain. ‘A product not only has to communicate its own special story, it needs to be able to strike up a conversation with the ‘relatives’.’
Having created furniture for both residential and commercial use for many years, SBW’s latest collection, Halo, pushes into new territory. ‘The Halo collection follows an ebullient arch shape that springs through each piece, creating a classic silhouette, graphic boldness and a sense of visual lightness’ Lisa explains. Comprising six pieces (a dining chair, high stool, lounge chair, sofa, side table and coffee table), the range brings together solid American oak and circular steel tube in eye-catching powder coated colours.
Initially, this range came from a single timber dining chair design. ‘We set out to design a timber dining chair to add to our existing collection.. but the Halo range grew organically to include a high stool and outdoor chair, all following the original chair style.’ Lisa explains. From here, the range expanded again with a softer, more residential direction, offering a sofa, lounge chair, coffee and side table, all linked by the ‘sweeping arc’ motif.
The selection of bright materials and finishes was designed to showcase the bold geometric forms of this collection, but also to tell a dynamic story. ‘The combination of colours selected; a mix of vibrant, subtle and earthy tones, were partly inspired by a recent trip to Milan’ Lisa explains.
SBW utilise a Melbourne-based manufacturing network, which means they can keep a close eye on every step of the production process. ‘Having local manufacturers means we can stay connected with how our products are made, minimising waste and looking after our people’ the designers explain. ‘We use timber with Sustainable Forestry certification, environmentally sustainable foam and recycled plastic chair shells for all upholstered chairs.’
After 6 years in business together, Lisa and Laelie feel that their creative output is continuously evolving. Their collaborative approach ensures a diligent commitment to research and development, and the rigours that come with constant feedback and communication. They’re currently working on expanding their furniture range even further, with plans to relocate to a larger showroom next year.
Peruse the Something Beginning With range online, or stop by the showroom at 107/25 Gipps Street in Collingwood, Melbourne.