A couple of years ago, one of my favourite Melbourne stores sadly closed their doors after more than 12 years in business. I’m talking about Max Watts Industria (which stocked some of my favourite IndustriaX pieces), which was then on Gertrude st in Fitzroy, and was run by husband and wife team, Quenton and Sue Buckley.
Quenton and Sue were both pretty amazing creative visionaries, they really started the whole industrial salvage trend way before the rest of us caught on! They also created a market for custom-made industrial style furniture which they designed and made locally under the name ‘Industria X’, to complement the one-off vintage finds in their popular Fitzroy store. Their robust range of tables, chairs, steel trolleys and shelving quietly gathered an immense local following, and can still be spotted in so many Melbourne cafes and restaurants.
In 2012 Quenton and Sue closed their Fitzroy store and moved to the Mornington Peninsula. They decided to focus on the second hand component of their business, Max Watts Industria, which they relocated to the Tyabb Packing House. Then, last year they were keen for a change of pace, and sold the Industria X half of their business. Luckily, they found an opportunity to pass the baton on to a likeminded local creative couple already known to them – homewares designer Emma Cleine and her partner, carpenter Mark Cleine. Just like Quenton and Sue, Emma and Mark are a husband and wife team who live on the Mornington Peninsula, with their two sons, Lenny (4 years) and Beau (9 months).
‘I have known the Buckley family since my school days, as Quenton was my Woodwork teacher and Sue, my Art teacher’ explains Emma. After catching up with Quenton last year to borrow some props for a photo shoot for her homewares label, Lumiere Art + Co, Quenton mentioned that he and Sue were keen to slow down a bit. Having been admirers of Quenton and Sue’s business for many years, Emma and her partner Mark jumped at the chance to take on the business.
‘We thought it was perfect for us. We have always loved Industria X, and are extremely passionate about Australian manufacturing, so we ordered 8 new Canteen chairs for ourselves, before putting wheels in motion to buy the business’ says Emma.
Emma and Mark have been running Industria X only since late last year, and spent all summer working hard to have a complete furniture range ready for relaunch. ‘We are respectful of the existing industrial aesthetic, and we want to expand on this range and offer more options for colour and stain’ says Emma. The pair are also keen to broaden the existing furniture collection and portfolio with project based jobs, such as commercial and shop fit outs. Mark also has an exciting range of metal handles, hardware and fittings in the works, to be released very soon!
It’s set to be a big year for Emma and Mark. The pair will exhibit at Den Fair, a new furniture design fair in Melbourne in May. Over the coming months they plan to open a showroom in Melbourne for both trade and retail, they are also keen to stock their range through select other local and national retailers, enquiries welcome!