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The Creative Couple Behind THAT Chair (And More Timeless Designs!)

Studio Visit

When we were combing through the entries for TDF Design Awards a few months ago, there was a chair submitted in the furniture design category that stopped us in our tracks! For its elegant balance of simplicity, innovation, minimalism and creative flair, the Odie chair from Fomu Design was definitely  a standout, and earned a commendation from the judges at our Awards ceremony last month!

Today we catch up with the creative couple behind THAT chair – Andrew Beveridge and Gabrielle Beswick – in their Coburg North studio!

22nd October, 2019

The Fomu Double Side Table in white. Photo – Lillie Thompson.

Andrew Beveridge and Gabrielle Beswick, the couple behind furniture design studio Fomu. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

While Fomu designs are created in equal parts by Gabby and Andrew, the couple come to the final outcome separately. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Fomu Low Stool in black American Oak. Photo – Lillie Thompson.

The Fomu studio in Coburg North. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Andrew working on designs. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

After growing from doing most of the manufacturing themselves, Fomu has sourced trusted local manufacturers to help expand their business. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Gabby examining a piece. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Studio bud! Photo – courtesy of Fomu Design

Timeless Fomu silhouettes. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 22nd October 2019

‘We’re designing pieces for someone to enjoy for a long period of time’. Gabrielle Beswick.

For creative couple Andrew Beveridge and Gabrielle Beswick of Coburg North-based furniture design studio Fomu, the transition to working together full time was organic. Andrew was the first of the pair to pursue furniture design, a decision that Gabby supported wholeheartedly. ‘I really loved the idea of us having a business together, and for Andrew to be able to do what he loved every day’, she says.

When Andrew started working on his first few designs, he would often come to Gabby (who had been working in the fashion industry for several years) for another perspective. ‘As I was already interested in designing, I naturally just started helping out’, Gabby explains.

Today, Andrew and Gabby are co-creative directors/designers of Fomu Design. Drawing inspiration from creative disciplines, such as visual art and sculpture, the pair have produced a refined collection of seating and side tables, with a memorable, contemporary yet understated aesthetic. A Fomu piece has that timeless quality that will make it instantly at home, wherever it is!

While the signature Fomu stools and side tables reflect the core of the brand’s collection, the Odie chair – a stackable American Oak chair with rounded edges and distinct arched shapes – is surely the standout piece from the young brand. This deliciously soft, supple yet sturdy silhouette recently earned the Odie a commendation in the Furniture Design category in last month’s TDF Design Awards: an achievement that reminded the couple just how much they had achieved, together. ‘Sometimes you can easily forget how far you have come and it really reminded us of how hard we have worked’, Gabby elaborates. ‘We spent so many hours developing The Odie chair and it was a truly amazing way to be recognised’.

All Fomu products are made in Australia, and the materials are ethically sourced – a key priority for the brand. ‘Our products have been designed to create very little wastage through smart manufacturing’, Gabby explains. The timber used in Fomu ranges are sustainably sourced through selective harvesting, ‘this means a smaller numbers of trees are harvested per hectare, allowing remaining plants to naturally regenerate the forest’, Gabby explains.

With a focus on simple form and function, Andrew and Gabby are ultimately ‘designing a lifestyle’ – both for their customers and themselves. ‘We’re designing pieces for someone to enjoy for a long period of time’, Gabby tells. ‘I just fell in love with what we created together and the life we wanted to create for ourselves’.

Look out for Fomu’s new collection, to be launched early next year!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net