Elliot and Louise Gorham, the husband and wife team behind local furniture brand Apparentt each bring a diverse range of skills to their partnership. Elliot undertook a visual arts degree at Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Furniture Design. Following this, he worked as a furniture maker for a number of local companies. Louise has a more unexpected background (!), with qualifications in Musical Theatre Performance! ‘While Elliot was designing and making furniture at Uni, I was learning how to shuffle-ball-change with tap shoes on!’ she says. Since graduating, Louise has been writing and performing comedy, as well as running the couple’s other business, Handsome & Co – a School of Fine Woodworking and Design.
Apparentt strive for a perfect balance between form and function. They are influenced by Japanese woodworking methods, highly regarded for their complex, decorative woodworking joints. ‘Traditional Japanese joinery clearly demonstrates a ‘makers hand’ and consequently, uncompromising quality. We hope to instill these qualities in our own designs’ says Louise.
Despite this lean towards traditional methods, Louise and Elliot are also deeply in love with modern design, and strive for a distinctly contemporary aesthetic. ‘We are continually experimenting and trying to push boundaries, in order to create new aesthetics without compromising the integrity of old’ Louise explains.
Elliot and Louise design in tandem. Each new piece begins with a series of drawings and sketches, which are refined many times over. ‘I know something great is happening when Elliot’s blasting hip-hop or the same song is on repeat!’ Louise says. From here, Elliot will make a prototype, then Louise takes a look, and together the pair brainstorm refinements and changes that need to be made. ’This process can go on for quite a while until we feel the balance between beauty and functionality has been achieved’ Louise explains.
The result is a carefully considered and fully resolved range of furniture and lighting, handcrafted with a meticulous attention to detail. ‘We like to play with detail; exposed joinery, small accents of metals, colour and upholstery to contrast, diversify and soften where necessary’ Louise explains. ‘Simply put, we work to create products that are beautiful, simple and durable’.