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Native Design

by Fiona Killackey
on 31 July 2009

According to David Brown, graphic designer and former president of the Art Center College of Design, "good design is a form of respect on the part of the producer for the person who will eventually spend hard-earned cash on the product, use the product [and] own the product." If so, Native, the latest offering from renowned Melbourne industrial designer Dhiren Bhagwandas, represents truly good design.

A collaborative effort between Bhagwandas and director/owner/operator Rob Young, Native fills the gap in high-quality Australian furniture design brand. “We wanted designs that were internationally relevant, that explored cultures from around the world—starting with our own," says Bhagwandas. "The name Native is about tracing the origins of contemporary culture. We're using the word in the sense that everyone is native to somewhere, be it his or her country, city or suburb. We are trying to identify the contemporary native within a globalized world, all with different rituals and traditions that should be celebrated."

While the collection only officially launched this month as part of Melbourne's State of Design festival, the concept has been a long time in development with Bhagwandas and Young researching and refining their ideas. "After a long period of development the concept was finalized in 2008," says Bhagwandas. "We wanted to move away from 'glossy, hard-edged' design and create a brand with authenticity and an ethical approach." In addition to its pleasing aesthetic, the Native collection uses sustainable materials such as FSC timbers, chromium-free leathers, natural oil and wax finishes. "The collection fuses craft and technology to create progressive pieces that still maintain a human element, with a focus on durability and simple functionality," Bhagwandas explains.


"I hope that people can discover a story behind each piece and that this will encourage them to further investigate the themes," Bhagwandas tells CH, "Each product is designed utilizing a combination of warm, tactile/textural materials such as timber, leather, wool felt and ceramics, tempered by cooler, brighter materials such as powder-coated steel. Each piece is designed to be refinished or recycled at the end of its useful life, again, encouraging the owner to hold onto the product and extend its lifespan."

The first Native collection is available in Melbourne through Format Furniture. International and Australian interstate orders can be made via or visiting Native online.

See more images after the jump.

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