The furniture brand Totem Road is opening a pop-up store in Bondi.
Totem Road, which launched in August 2015, is founder Don Garvan’s third furniture business. The Kiwi entrepreneur is joined by creative director Elaine Bellew, a UK designer who has a background in fashion and interiors. Garvan’s business partner Marcel Fantuz handles logistics and production. “It’s a very lean team,” says Garvan.
“We wanted to create furniture that not only looks amazing, but also makes a difference socially, environmentally and ecologically,” says Garvan.
The Totem Road range includes Scandinavian-influenced timber bed frames and solid-oak coffee and dining tables topped with Italian Carrara marble, a pale-grey marble favoured by the Ancient Romans. “It’s a classic kind of marble that has been used for thousands of years and stood the test of time and many, many design incarnations,” says Garvan. The oak has been sourced from small, family-owned forests in America and Germany. “It’s all selectively logged, rather than clear-felled.”
Garvan’s goal was to create pieces that last a lifetime. “They’re classic, simple designs, made from high-quality sustainable materials, which make them way more likely to survive style makeovers and end up in landfill.”
The furniture is produced in a factory south of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Garvan says he admires the Vietnamese people and their craftsmanship. “They’re very passionate about what they do. We’ve worked with the same family-owned company for 20 years.”
Choosing Bondi as the home of the brand’s first physical store was a no-brainer. “We’re all from Bondi,” explains Garvan, who embarked on a lengthy search for a sun-filled corner location to set up shop. “It was important that we have natural light because the essence of our furniture is about tying it back to nature..”
Totem Road’s commitment to beautiful design extends to the store’s fit-out. Dezion Studio and IlanEl provided lighting. Thonet chairs, Andrea & Joen French bed linen, Armadillo rugs and greenery from the Plant Room complete the space.
Garvan says he feels right at home alongside the store’s Gould Street neighbours, which include similarly aspirational Australian brands such as Aesop and Jac+ Jack. “It was important for us as a first, in-the-flesh offering to be positioned in a place where we’re close to nature and where the brand began.”