Wiggles and waves have had something of a resurgence in interiors lately, showing up in everything from mirrors and candles to soap dishes and rugs. Kate Stokes and Haslett Grounds, partners and co-founders of Melbourne furniture and lighting brand Coco Flip, have put their own spin on the squiggly motif with the label’s new Bellini range.

“With Bellini we wanted to do something a little bit more fun and frivolous,” Stokes tells Broadsheet. “We’ve taken inspiration from long summer days and visions of those beautiful beachside awnings.”

According to Stokes, the collection is as pared-back as it is statement-worthy. “There’s an element of restraint … but also wanting to have a level of embellishment and ornamentation that makes it a bit playful and a bit fun,” Stokes says.

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Framed in powder-coated steel, the ’70s-inflected collection features benches, seats and stools accented with lush corduroy upholstery. There are also low tables finished with blackwood or American oak tops. And, of course, each piece is adorned with a signature wavy trim. Much like the iconic Italian cocktail it’s named after (made with prosecco and peach nectar), Bellini speaks to lazy days spent lounging around.

Stokes describes the range as “sophisticated, but not snooty”. The long bench seat – fitted out with a decorative, but purposefully subtle, bolster backrest – is a personal favourite for both designers, especially when covered in the deep, rusty red corduroy. As with most Coco Flip furniture, the steel and corduroy elements are available in a range of colours – including mustard, moss green, pale blue and grey – that can be customised for home and hospitality venues alike.

The inspiration for Bellini was sparked from Grounds’ deep desire to work with upholstery again, having previously produced an ottoman range with the same upholstery manufacturer. “The seat market is very competitive, so we wanted to offer something slightly different and a little more occasional,” he says. “We started with the bench seats and then the range just evolved quite naturally – the design really is a language that can be taken throughout many different forms.”

Most Coco Flip projects, including Bellini, start with sourcing materials and a local manufacturer, Stokes says. It’s a key philosophy that underpins the brand. “We’re very influenced by manufacturing techniques, and we’re strong on educating customers on how things are made and why [they] are done the way they are.”

The duo founded the business in 2010, Stokes coming from a background in industrial design and Grounds from architecture. Since the label’s inception they’ve released a clutch of collections, most notably their curvaceous Sequence tables and range of wall lights and pendants. Every creation is distinctive. Sculptural, but in a quiet way – imbuing a particular character, mood or tone.

“The key theme that threads our brand together is balance,” Stokes says. “In aesthetics, we’re very strong on proportions and are often combining two materials that balance each other out. It’s about striking that balance between a contemporary piece that sits harmoniously in a space but also adds character.”

Distinct from previous drops, Bellini was designed with hospitality venues in mind while being versatile enough to fit in a range of spaces, from lounge rooms to retail. “We always try to design things that sit comfortably in different aesthetics,” Grounds says. “We don’t want them to be so overbearing that they only fit in modernist houses.”

The brand also prides itself on producing unique pieces made with new materials, instead of “churning out look-alike collections”. “It’s always interesting trying to come up with new ideas, new ways of working with materials and new ways of working with manufacturers,” Grounds says. “That’s what excites us and helps us push our manufacturers to try new things.”

View the Bellini collection, alongside Coco Flip’s broader range, via appointment at its showroom at 161 Heidelberg Road, Northcote. Or shop online at cocoflip.com.au. For all custom enquiries, email info@cocoflip.com.au.

This article first appeared in Domain Review, in partnership with Broadsheet.

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