You may not know it, but there’s a good chance you’ve encountered Techne’s work before. The young architecture practice has fitted out some of Melbourne’s most popular hospitality spots in recent years, including Long Chim, Rooftop Bar, Garden State Hotel and Hightail, which all share a penchant for organic shapes and big, clashing colours. Techne is also working on the mammoth refurbishment of The Espy.
Now, Techne fans – oblivious or not – have a rare chance to take some of its idiosyncratic aesthetic home. In collaboration with furniture design and manufacturing company Grazia and Co, the firm has released a furniture range. The range, released last month, shares the same gently curved geometric lines, slick material bases and clever technical details the architects have become known for on a larger scale.
“In architecture, branching into design is a bit of a well-trodden path, and being a design-driven creative practice, we just had a desire to spread our wings more broadly,” says Techne director Nick Travers of the initial idea. “I’d seen some of the collaborations [Grazia] had done with other designers, and they were immediately enthusiastic.”
The resulting collection consists of three designs: a tall, slender shelving unit; a lower, mid-height design; and a bedroom side table. Their steel frames and perforated panelling are powder-coated, and brass connections add to the sense of lightness and modernity that already comes through in the playful shapes. Each piece has a mirroring counterpart, to sit side-by-side seamlessly. Pieces are also customisable with a stone or timber panel that sits on the top.
“There’s a degree of customisation so that customers can change the character of [the furniture]. The shelving is all adjustable,” Travers says. “The other thing is that we designed them especially not to be [rigid in terms of placement] – there’s not a front or back so it doesn’t have to sit against the wall; they can be placed in the middle of a space. It has that level of versatility.”
Customary for Techne, the colour palette is contemporary without being too “safe”, consisting of Mannex black, Mannex suede (dark blue), periwinkle (pale blue), and cobalt blue.
“The pieces are consistent with what we like to do with our work – the geometry and the shapes and the boldness of colour. There’s an elegance but there’s also a playfulness,” says Travers. “At the heart the design, there’s an honesty to the expression – it’s quite elemental and each piece stands individually.”
The Techne furniture range is available at graziaandco.com.au.