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Over the course of the middle of last century, Australian architecture changed forever with the influence of mid-century modernist design. Works by the likes of architects Robyn Boyd, Harry Siedler, Roy Grounds, McGlashan Everist, and Walter Burley Griffin took influence from the simple, functional design of modernist homes in Europe and The United States, and shaped Australian living and culture for generations, with comfortable, simple, modest homes in the suburbs.
In no small part, Jardan has taken influence from the modernist furniture designers of the time – Grant Featherstone, Fred Lowen, Douglas Snelling, to name a few – people who’d recently immigrated to Australia from Europe, bringing with them an unprecedented wave of new skills and ideas, which are still reverberating through Australian suburban life today.
Alongside our design influences, we’ve taken much inspiration from John and Sunday Reed, whose home (now the Heide Museum of Modern Art, in Melbourne) established a style of living for creative families. At their home, they shared residence with some of Australia’s most influential painters and artists including Sydney Nolan and Joy Hester, who would live on the farm for months on end while painting their most famous work.
And so, because we create furniture for the Australian way of life, our Richmond showroom is inspired by the homes made by the country’s renowned architects and designers. “Upstairs was inspired by the work of Harry Siedler, a Sydney architect who designed, amongst other things, a home for his mother,” says Iva Forschia, the owner and principal of Melbourne architecture practice, IF Architecture, from her Melbourne office. “It was so different at the time. The spaces were defined by free standing walls. It was a simple, honest, modernist style home.”
Upstairs in the Jardan Richmond Store, there’s this sense that you’re walking into a living room, with seperate bedrooms, a fire place, and a kitchen. “To the left upstairs, we’ve created bedrooms and used colour to make you imagine that it’s a real home. You get a sense that this could be your living room, and we’ve tried to set it out so that it inspires people to apply things to their own interiors,” says Iva. “To the right side when you get upstairs, we’ve referenced John and Sunday Reed, who created the Heidi Gallery and Museum in Melbourne. John and Sunday Reed nurtured artists who were staying at their home. They were known for having long lunches, for entertaining by the fire and reading books from the bookshelves, huddling together in the colder months. There’s these incredible stories of Sunday Reed cooking while some of Australia’s most famous artists painted on the kitchen table.”
Downstairs, the architecture lends from the work of Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect known for designing much of Canberra. But contrary to Burley Griffin’s grand public buildings, Walter and wife Marion’s home in Melbourne was small and modest. They built it themselves, brick by brick, and in the process created a framework for Melbourne living.
For the new showroom, Iva wanted to create a space that felt like a home, rather than traditional furniture showrooms, which are often cluttered with furniture. “The idea was that people would walk into the Richmond Store and see the furniture as it would exist in their own homes,” says Iva. “We wanted to give people an idea of how to style their interiors and make their homes more comfortable to live in, as opposed to the traditional furniture showrooms.”
Our Melbourne Flagship Store is located at
522 Church Street