I am trained as a product/furniture designer although I now consider myself a designer/maker/restorer. My design career still exists but it now walks hand in hand with my other purpose on this planet… Restoration.
Graduation as a designer now seems like a distant memory. I graduated in 1999 as an excitable twenty something ready to take on the world. I still have that fire in my belly to divide and conquer the work of design but for completely different motive than I had nearly seventeen years ago. My journey to find my purpose within the creative world has taken me around the world. Eventually living on the other side of the planet from where I was born.
My career has been vast and varied and taught me many skills, both practical and in life. Various roles within the design world have shaped my thinking and lead me to the place I am now.. The greatest influence on my career in the design world was during a three-year period as an Industrial designer at the Adelaide zoo. Working within the interpretation team was my first real taste of environmental concerns within design.
I felt my role and responsibility as a designer on the planet changing but didn’t know how. How could I justify to myself churning out more and more products with no real concern about the stress on natural resources, local manufacture or build up of products going to landfill sooner and sooner as the quality of products gets less and less. When my time was up at the zoo, after an amazing three years I went back into a regular design studio. It was at this point I knew I needed to do more. I felt that I was treading water working jobs that did not satisfy my desire to make a difference. To be part of something with a real purpose to ‘do my bit’ for my planet that gives us so much that we take for granted.
What did I know at this point of my life… Well I knew the furniture industry pretty well, after being a designer for the majority of my career at a design led manufacturer. I also knew how much waste was involved in all aspects of the industry from production, materials and disposal of products. What could I do, where do I fit?
I founded Tane Furniture in 2012 to ‘do my bit’. Initially focused on the design of new sustainable products using responsible local materials, local manufacturer and considerations given to the after-life of the products. The company has gradually evolved to were we are today which is now a real focus on restoration. And preserving perfectly good furniture from going to landfill, or as our suggests ‘saving furniture from extinction’. I still produce new designs but they come along now as a problem arises, not through me producing just another chair or table design, as there are plenty of other companies who you can get that from. But I have found real peace in the restoration and repair of furniture, you might say a real purpose. Quite often older furniture is built better, made with better quality materials and with a little bit of restoration (and a lot of time and patience!) we can bring them back to life for another fifty years. I admit this is a short-term fix to a long-term problem but while we figure the bigger picture out this seems to be a perfect way for us to work.
Clients receive back a piece of fully restored furniture that is completely unique. The furniture retains all the historical value of the piece (we never sand as part of the restoration process!). And we get the complete satisfaction that with a little bit of oil, wax, glue, skill and knowledge we have prevented a mass of product potentially going to landfill. We take great pride in this restoration work, it really does feel like we are restoring a past age to do our bit to sustain the future.