When considering the customer experience at our Commercial Bay Coffee Bar we’ve paid considerable attention to the design and materiality aesthetic of our space. From the wall panels to the counter panelling we have obsessed over materials that have longevity whilst also considering their life-cycle and future re-usability. Our aim is to have each piece fit seamlessly with the rest of the space and to complement our coffee offering and service; we’ve done our best to curate a selection of products that are comfortable, high quality and meet our expectations for sustainable innovation. There are some amazing designers in New Zealand and we have embraced their skills across the majority of this project, but it was a new designer from Melbourne that caught our attention for the stools at Kōkako Commercial Bay. Fomu is a Melbourne based design studio with a unique design aesthetic that matched the design aesthetic for our new coffee bar.
On a trip to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo back in 2019 we visited the humble design studio of Fomu, located in Preston, Melbourne. We were immediately impressed with the quality and simplicity of the design, the use of American Walnut for the stool seat and the ability for us to customise the paint colour of the stool frames. We also really liked the designers and wanted to support their new business.
Images from Fomu Design
Andrew Beveridge and Gabrielle Beswick are the designers and co-creative directors of Fomu Design. Originally from Tasmania, the couple moved to Melbourne to further their formal education in design. Andrew was originally a carpenter, while Gabrielle was working in fashion textiles and product development. It was Andrew who was the first to pursue furniture design, who would often go to Gabrielle for her unique perspective. The transition to working full time together was organic, with the couple drawing inspiration from creative disciplines, such as visual arts and sculpture.
Combining their design aesthetic and knowledge Andrew and Gabrielle use predominantly locally sourced materials to create a refined collection of seating and side tables in what remains a truly collaborative design process. With a commitment to producing timeless sustainable furniture pieces, the Fomu collection was designed to have an understated aesthetic, working with quality materials and the use of a highly considered design approach. Appreciated for the use of clean lines, their range was designed through the removal of unnecessary components with a view towards practicality. It was this design approach that made the Fomu High Stool ideal for a small space such as Kōkako Commercial Bay.
Andrew and Gabrielle are committed to producing timeless pieces of sustainable furniture, pieces that will continue to remain relevant years from now.
Images from Fomu Design
“Ultimately the most sustainable piece of furniture you will ever design is a timeless one”, explains Gabrielle. Sustainability begins at the design stage, and as such the studio takes a highly considered design approach working with multiple quality materials. Fomu products have been designed to create very little wastage through smart manufacturing. Both the stool and side table were designed through the removal of unnecessary components inherently reducing resource inputs. And all Fomu products are Australian made, the materials ethically sourced — an important consideration for the couple.
The Fomu High Stool is created from powder-coated steel and solid American Walnut timber. All timber components are of equal thickness, allowing Andrew and Gabrielle to source each piece from the same batch of raw material. All timber used throughout the Fomu ranges has been sustainably sourced through selective harvesting. This means fewer numbers of trees are harvested per hectare, allowing remaining plants to naturally regenerate the forest. And the thickness of the timber components is selected specifically to avoid as much timber wastage during the machining process as possible. Natural plant-based oils of sunflower, soya, linseed and thistle are used to finish the timber, ensuring durability and longevity. With a focus on simple form and function, Andrew and Gabrielle are ultimately designing pieces for people to enjoy for a long period of time.
So whether you are on your way to work, passing through the city or just in need of a place to slow down to quietly catch your breath, we hope that you will be able to come by, pull up a Fomu High Stool and order yourself a perfectly executed coffee and pastry from our new space within Commercial Bay. See you there soon!
For updates and to be amongst the first to see their 2020 collection follow Fomu on Instagram.