Having an eye for design can be exhausting. If you devote your life to the marriage of form and function, you notice the fine details in everything. Which means something as simple as choosing office furniture becomes an exercise in finding the perfect blend of aesthetics and utility, even in storage.
As director of Melbourne design firm The Company You Keep (TCYK), Rhys Gorgol is one of those people hardwired not to settle for the sake of convenience or cost. His studio, (which shares a building with Broadsheet) recently fitted its office out with new furniture. So far, so mundane. But instead of a quick trip to Ikea or OfficeWorks, Gorgol sought out Planex, a local independent manufacturer who shares Gorgol’s beliefs that an object needs to do more than simply fulfil a purpose, or just look good.
“Aesthetics should be a given – there’s no reason for anything to be unappealing to the eye. But it’s the function that should be paramount and the reason for the object’s existence,” says Gorgol.
Like TCYK, Planex is a local independent business, something Gorgol likes to champion. “Local manufacturing and a history of quality design in our own backyard,” is something he’s drawn to. “The ethics in Planex’s production and manufacturing in our community is important. But they’re also just built extremely well and made for the long haul,” he says. “The pared-back aesthetic and the ability to fine tune colour and finish is great.”
Planex CEO Jean-Pierre Jardel works to satisfy customers like TCYK, businesses that seek a product that defers to, and defines, a space. “We want to create furniture that reflects the constantly evolving workplace; making the furniture more than just an object, something customisable, versatile, long-lasting, and most importantly, made for the individual," he says.
One of Jardel's favourite pieces is the new xLocker2 storage system, which can also provide power to charge devices. "It’s the perfect example of catering for activity-based work places. We’re so excited about what it will do in the future,” he says.
Planex pieces have a 10-year warranty, but when the product is at the end of its lifecycle, it can be returned to the company and the process comes full-circle; the steel is recycled and reused in new designs. Planex’s attention to environmental concerns goes beyond using locally sourced and sustainable materials.
“We want our customers to buy once and buy right – whether this means reusing, recycling or reconfiguring a current piece. Our furniture is designed to endure and be versatile,” Jardel says.
For Gorgol, the long-lasting range is economical but also elemental: “The design works with both the fancier and utilitarian furniture in here,” says the designer. “And it’s a brand we trust and respect.”
Planex recently opened a 300-square-metre Sydney showroom you can visit by appointment. “Designers, end users and clients can visit the showroom to see the Planex range featured in ‘working’ configurations,” says architectural and design consultant Alexandra Duke.