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The Melbourne Designer Creating Clever Furniture, For Small Spaces

Studio Visit

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment, townhouse or any home on the smaller size, you’ll be familiar with the struggle for space when it comes to finding furniture that’s both cute and compact.

Meet Ka Ra Studio, a new furniture business by Melbourne designer Katrina Ramm, with a focus on creating locally made pieces that make the most of the ‘precious space’ inside our homes – from a seamless set of meccano-inspired dining chairs and a matching table with storage inside, to a smiling timber console!

22nd November, 2022

Ka Ra Studio’s adorable Buddy storage unit is among the brand’s first available designs. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Designer Katrina Ramm. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

A sneak peek at one of her soon-to-launch pieces… a vase! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The Pal side table. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I’m currently working from my garage studio in my Northcote rental. My partner and I moved into this space about a year ago specifically because of the large garage!’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘We’ve set up the space with benches that we made from reclaimed structural pine, which had previously been used for warehouse shelving at my work,’ she says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her process begind with a ‘quick, messy sketching’ before spending lots of time digitally refining it. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

 

 

The Penny Chair and Penny Table inside Katrina’s home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Once I’m happy with the design, I then generally build a timber prototype in my home studio to see how it looks in full scale,’ Katrina says of her process. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The Buddy storage unit. Photo – Andy Webb

Photo – Andy Webb

The Penny Chair and Penny Table. Photo – Andy Webb

The Penny Chair. Photo – Andy Webb

Christina Karras
Tuesday 22nd November 2022

Melbourne designer Katrina Ramm worked as an interior designer before going back to university to study furniture design a few years ago.

‘I had all these furniture ideas that I didn’t know how to physically bring to life, as other than a bit of sanding and re-finishing of vintage furniture finds, I hadn’t done any wood working or furniture making before,’ Katrina says.

Now, after a ‘couple years of prototyping, testing and preparation’ (on her days off from her job as the studio manager for local furniture company, Plyroom) Katrina has launched Ka Ra Studio – making ‘flexible furniture’ with smaller spaces in mind. And she’s hoping her playful pieces can carve out a very purposeful place in the market!

‘Although there is already a lot of really beautiful furniture in existence, and I wrestle with the question of whether we should be producing more things — I do think there is room to push convention and create pieces that are better suited to a modern way of living,’ Katrina explains.

‘And with our spaces becoming smaller, I’m inspired to create products that make the most of the precious space in our small homes and apartments.’

While she started the business from her own small apartment in Collingwood, Katrina now works from the garage studio in her Northcote rental.

Ka Ra Studio’s first range of timber pieces include a particularly clever set of dining chairs that can be tucked away perfectly into the matching Penny Table when not in use, while the table itself also holds a gap for storage beneath the surface. There’s also a slim side table inspired by the ‘chubby’ silhouettes of neotenic design, and the Buddy storage unit, that hides a literal smile in the handles of the doors!

Katrina describes her designs as ‘feel good’ pieces, but sustainability is another key focus of her business. All the pieces are made to order in Melbourne, using only responsibly sourced timbers from local farm and plantations — rather than anything that might have come from over logged forests.

The larger furniture pieces are made by a talented local woodworker, Vivienne Wong, who produces them in small batches in her Thomastown workshop, and Katrina makes any small objects herself in the studio, alongside her poodle sidekick, Peggy-Sue.

‘I’m loving having a studio space to work from at home, as I can easily play around with concepts whenever I have an idea, no matter what time of day,’ she adds. ‘I’ve been known to be in the studio crafting things (quietly) late at night in my pjs!’

Shop Ka Ra Studio online here.

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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