“We pulled it all together really quickly,” says Christina Symes, who makes up one half of the We Are Triibe duo. The other half is Jessica Stewart. The women are interior stylists and all-rounder designers, so it isn’t surprising that in a few short weeks their new studio has gone from a bare white room to a warm, inviting space with plenty of character.
Symes and Stewart were already familiar with their new space above the The Standard Store in Surry Hills. They have worked closely with Mild Manners Gallery next door, which bares many similarities in size and structure. “We jumped at the chance to be here, we came to visit the same day we found out it was available,” Symes says.
The space will be their office and it will be opened to the public regularly. They will completely transform it several times a year to demonstrate innovative ways of displaying furniture and products in the home and workspace. Its current fit-out is as sophisticated as it is functional. The walls are painted (the very-specific) Kensington grey by Resene and a long workbench faces the windows, which open onto Crown Street. The space has greenery by The Plantarum and We Are Triibe’s Treehouse candles burn on timber shelves. The furniture and lighting is by Cult, and the large artworks are by local artists Brooke Holm, Michael Bennett and Jedda-Daisy Culley. It’s a comfortable, calming space, indicative of the multi-purpose rooms that are a big part of urban living. .
Symes’ background is in fashion styling. Stewart has worked as an exhibition designer at the prestigious Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. The pair have been friends since high school, and moved from Brisbane to Sydney several years ago to launch their own business. Since then they’ve taken on high-profile projects such as the Aje retail store in Brisbane. They’ve also tried their hand at product design, and developed their own range of candles and handmade ceramics. “Product design is a good way for us to combine all that we do into a tangible thing; we really enjoy it and we want to do it more,” Stewart says.
Their most recent project is a collaboration with Sydney online store IN BED. Together they’ve launched a signature moss-coloured linen. “There’s a little hint of green in everything we do. We tend to incorporate plants into all of our spaces, so for us, this shade just made sense,” says Stewart. “Plus, Christina actually had a dream about the linen in this colour!”
Pip Vassett of IN BED was on board from the start. “As with all good modern-day connections, we came across each other on Instagram and had a strong appreciation for each other's work,” Vassett says. The girls met when Symes and Stewart borrowed linen from Vassett to use in one of their styling workshops. They’ve worked closely together since, for the IN BEDroom pop-up last June, and recent shoots that We Are Triibe have directed. “They made the space for IN BEDroom look incredible. When they asked if we’d like to do a collaboration I jumped at the chance to work together again. It’s a fairly left-of-centre colour for bed linen, I suppose, but it really works. I think that’s a nice analogy for the girls’ work in general,” says Vassett.
Symes and Stewart teach styling workshops and offer daily Triibe Tips. For them it’s about sharing their knowledge with a community of people who are eager to learn the small steps necessary to transform their homes, and working with like-minded brands.
“To have our own studio space that we can open up to people is amazing,” says Symes. “We can showcase brands we love in interesting ways and engage with people in a way that we’ve wanted to for a long time. It’s a canvas that we can constantly change and update, for us, that’s the dream.”
We Are Triibe Christmas Pop-Up Store
Above The Standard Store
503 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Fri December 11 to Sat December 12, 10am–6pm
Sun December 13, 10am–5pm