Beeline Design was featured in the Herald Sun Home Living magazine. Check out the transcript and pictures below:
A hive of craftspeople sets the scene for inspired design and workmanship, writes Natasha Perera.
“We were sitting in our lounge room looking at this stool I’d made and wondering what we could add to create a little more interest”
Ask any creative and they will tell you that inspiration can strike at the strangest hours, in the most unusual places and through rather unexpected sources.
For wood artisan Adam Brislin and his partner Lucy Grant (the talented duo behind Beeline Design), it was a simple fashion accessory that added a point of difference to what has become one of their most popular furniture pieces.
“We were sitting in our lounge room looking at this stool I’d made and wondering what we could add to create a little more interest, and then Lucy, who has a design background in fashion, took off the rose-gold belt she was wearing and said ‘How about this’?” Adam recalls.
“It was in the early days before copper had really had its time in the home, and when she slung the belt around the seat, it just worked!”
The belt-strapped piece became the prototype for one of their fast-selling designs – the Calypso stool. The Calypso range now also includes coffee and side tables with the same copper trim, as well as others with painted finishes.
Beeline Design produces a range of handcrafted timber furnishings including beds, tables, stools, buffets, consoles and shelving.
Adam’s passion for timber was cemented when he enrolled in some after-school woodworking classes, which were closely followed by a four-year apprenticeship in fine furniture, in Western Australia.
He teamed up with Lucy in 2008 to start their own furniture-making business after the pair returned from living in London for three years, where they met.
They worked from their garden shed until 2010, when they leased space at the Worco design co-operative in Preston. Here, they work alongside other craftspeople including a blacksmith, ceramicist, and woodturner. The creative space has also encouraged them to collaborate on design projects together.
“We are surrounded by heritage trades and creativity – it’s a really great environment.” Adam says.
Beeline Design is focused on creating pieces for modern living with an emphasis on clean and simple lines. “Our designs have a very relaxed look about them.” Lucy says of the range that has now evolved from their initial mid-century look to reflect a more streamlined, minimalist feel.
“We don’t have a lot of over-the-top detailing and like to maintain a certain softness with each design. We could, for instance, keep the legs of our pieces square but I think having them rounded gives them a more finished look.” Adam adds.
Blending different materials, including various combinations of timber, leather, stone and metal, is at the heart of their signature style and design aesthetic.
“Every range has an aspect of something we see as on-trend, but that we have interpreted in a way that doesn’t fade out with the trend.” Lucy explains.
Leather detailing features prominently in their Cuba Collection and introduces another texture and tactile element.
The Cuba coffee table, for example, has a leather-slung magazine rack incorporated into the tabletop, while the tri-framed mirror rack uses leather lashings to tie each panel together, allowing the frame to open and shut concertina-style.
“And rather than having an upholstered bedhead, we have used a basket-woven leather finish on the headboard of the Cuba bed, which looks warm and inviting.” Adam says.
“The leather has been stretched really tightly so it feels like a drum but still has enough give, so it’s also comfortable.”
Every piece is made from sustainably harvested timber and largely produced using Tasmanian oak, which Adam describes as a very utilitarian timber.
“It is very durable and can handle a knock and a bump. I love that it’s a fairly neutral timber and tonally soft, which makes it a perfect choice to bring out the beauty in each piece.” he says.
A pleated skirt made from iron was the design vision behind the table base for Ridge Collection, launched earlier this year.
It is an idea Adam, who grew up in country Western Australia, had for some time – he was just waiting for the right opportunity to try it out.
The corrugated iron sheds that formed part of the rural landscape around his family home were another strong influence when developing this range.
But this is not corrugated iron as we traditionally see it – this is corrugated iron with a twist!
“Hand-applying a leather finish to the iron surface helped us to transform this industrial-looking material with a level of luxe for a soft and stylish result.” Lucy explains, while Adam highlights that two or three people are needed to attach the leather to the surface, one ridge at a time, so that it doesn’t end up puckering.
The Ridge Collection also includes tables with stone tops, another new and bold material combination. “We have used rose marble and silver travertine in some designs, and find the terrazzo really adds a bit of interest with its multi-faceted colours.” Lucy says.