JAMIE DURIE TALKS TRANSTERIOR DESIGN AT NATUZZI ITALIA, WITH THE SUPA CENTA MOORE PARK
Almost two years ago, Jamie Durie and his team embarked on a journey together with Natuzzi Italia, to bring the outdoors in, in the same way that the brand’s been doing for many years.
Now, with his long-awaited collection on display at the Supa Centa’s stunning store, Jamie Durie came in over the Easter long weekend to share some precious insight into what happens when design philosophies align and how a collection is born – from conceptualization, to manufacture.
Super proud to be collaborating with the Italian furniture leader, Jamie opens the session by saying, “It wasn’t hard to see why our brands connected quite well, having gone over there, visited the place and seen the raw natural beauty of Puglia.”
Twenty years ago, Jamie Durie began his Design business, branching out to the design of outdoor furniture collections four years later. The designs have always been an environmentally conscious process, consisting of beautiful FSC certified timber, and only sourcing timber from managed forests, where it’s not impacting rain forest situations.
“We are very, very closely aligned with environmental organisations and we make sure that the furniture is sophisticated, it’s high quality but it’s accessible to a wider range of people. So, this for us was a dream come true – to collaborate with Italy’s most famous furniture brand in a sophisticated, yet accessible collection.”
As an ethical company, with social responsibility and environmental sustainability at the core of its values, Natuzzi maintains the highest international certifications for quality and commitment to environmental protection – an ethos Jamie lives by and is a fierce advocate of, so clearly a major determining factor in this partnership.
The Amber collection consists of quite a few pieces inclusive of a dining table, sideboard, bedside tables and a chest of drawers. Jamie’s eyes light up as he describes each piece of furniture and its conception in vivid detail, evidently a real labour of love. He’s tactile in his explanations and it quickly becomes clear that a tremendous amount of time and thought went into the design process. So when anyone purchases one of these products, they’re acquiring a part of nature, a deeply contemplated design piece, a valuable heirloom that grows more beautiful with time, to be enjoyed by generations.
“For me, this was about working with natural timbers. The Amber table is composed of American Walnut, one of my favourite timbers. It’s a solid frame and the edge is one of the most touched portions of the table. When you test a baby’s bath tub, you test with the most sensitive part of your skin, so when you’re sitting at the table, this is actually what touches you…and for me, this is the human connection with nature – as a direct connection. So to wrap around a toned-down tinted glass, giving it a reflective quality, it means that when you look around from the exterior of the house or even from the interior, this frosted glass becomes a mirror for the exterior. This is our way of bouncing images of nature off the table and back into the room. It may not occur to you straight away, but a lot of these little things we think about are really our way of bringing some messaging into the home.”
The shape of the table’s timber base was another talking point. “If you look at it in plan view [motioning from the top], in sections, it’s actually the sign of Peace – and Natuzzi Italia is all about harmony making. Harmony for us, means peace. Peace between nature and the environment, the connection with nature and peace in your home. So this was our way of saying, let’s land peace in your home, let’s make it as sophisticated and high quality as possible, let’s keep the ergonomics in such a way that instead of forming a straight line across the table, we do a slight curve, and that teaches people to come together and actually converse with each other, rather than sitting on a flat plane, and looking straight out. It’s these sorts of little nuances, build what we call conversation corners, which makes the table a successful one – and we were lucky enough to have it displayed in the front entrance of the flagship Natuzzi Italia store in Via Durini, Milan, which was amazing.”
The table, along with other furnishings in Durie’s Amber collection for the brand, is being sold in Natuzzi Italia stores around the world, which is something he’s extremely proud of – and rightfully so. Jamie’s passionate dedication to his work has catapulted him to success in many areas, and now he counts being the first Australian designer to ever collaborate with Natuzzi, Italy’s leading furniture company, among them.
“The sideboard is what’s getting most of the press and most of the interest, and the interesting thing about this sideboard, when we start to show imagery of where the inspiration came from, it’s the Simpson Desert here in Australia. I was raised in a little town called Tom Price on powdered milk and red dirt. We had a pet Dingo. So for me, this was a way of bringing the true Australia into a very sophisticated environment, and bringing the outside in. All the panels were created with a large, sideways gliding tool, called a five axes CNC machine. The large disc spins through the wood, running across it, and the angles formed emulate the hills you’d see naturally formed by the wind in the Simpson Desert in central Australia. This was our way of bringing nature inside the home. Where we spent the most time, was being able to control the peaks and troughs to a point where we put this beautiful walnut veneer over the top of it, there would be no cracks, it would always be high quality, and there’d be no stress on those ‘hills’ or ‘valleys’…because when you bend veneer up or down, you put it under stress. This furniture has to last for years and be passed down between generations. So what we did was change the circumference of this timber over a period of a year and a half and we kept grading it up, so that this became something that would never crack and always hold the Natuzzi Italia brand and of course our brand, in high stead. They did an incredible job engineering it and putting it all together. I’ve been out to the factories in Italy, met Pasquale Natuzzi himself – he’s an inspirational, iconic figure. He’s got a real presence and it was a real honour to work with him and the team.”
Jamie continues by touching on the importance of multi-functionality in modern homes, demonstrating how the Amber sideboard clicks open – “It’s got a soft touch and beautiful set back shelving systems, so for me this isn’t just about drawers and cupboards and so forth. This could be an entertainment unit that works through Bluetooth, it could be a sideboard or a credenza, where you store all your plates and cutlery for the dining area, and there’s a smaller version of this which could sit in the hallway.”
“Now we’re inviting Easter Bunnies in – this is great!”
Enter the [large] Easter Bunny. Big hugs.
“It’s so nice to see you. I thought I was the shortest one in the room, but actually you’re shorter than me.” It turns out that Jamie has a well-honed self-deprecating sense of humour, which goes down like a dream with the crowd. His sharp wit is further demonstrated when right off the cuff, he opens one of his books, Edible Garden Design, and holds up the inside front cover shot of carrots in an artistic spread.
“I also happen to be very good at designing with carrots,” quips Jamie with a cheeky grin to roars of laughter, while the Bunny runs off with a copy of the book.
Back to the Amber sideboard in its smaller version – and now to delve into detail…because the beauty is in the detail:
“This has what we call a Stiletto heel. So if you look at the exterior of these legs, it actually cradles into the centre of those legs [motioning] and the same cross fall picks up the angles running through the steel detailing in the Amber dining table. So all the furniture has some form of what we call ‘harmony’ which is the backbone of Natuzzi Italia’s brand promise.”
And what a promise. A promise that’s been honoured since 1959. To bring beauty and harmony to homes around the world. To respect nature and the environment, while staying ahead of the field in areas of research, design and innovation. To keep re-inventing, with collaborations from leading designers, artists, movers ‘n shakers around the world – and now with our Australian Jamie Durie.
LIVING DESIGN is Jamie’s 12th book title and first interiors title, co-authored with Nadine Bush. All about bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out, delving deeply into how furniture design plugs into nature.
Jamie Durie’s collection for Natuzzi Italia is available exclusively at Natuzzi Italia, located on Ground, opposite Dish Espresso.