For some time I’ve been looking to purchase several small items of furniture for my home and office and I have been dismayed by the lack of quality and uniqueness on the market. There is a bland uniformity, and very little quality. After conversations with friends and colleagues it has become apparent that other people are having similar experiences when looking for furniture that was not necessarily a well-known brand and where price was a consideration.
What I have found is, the market is saturated with bargains, mass production and alarmingly low prices. It is tempting to buy a product because it is cheap and it does the job, even though there are thousands like it.
Then there’s the idea of BRAND and the feeling that paying more for something gives you status. The concern I have with this is that you’re buying name and image… but not necessarily a premium product. We have all purchased a brand item assuming we were getting quality, only to have it fall apart as quickly as something a fraction of the price.
When you buy cheap, it is the earth that pays, in the environmental cost of production. The price is also borne by the person producing it, who is often underpaid.
If you purchase a brand name item, what you’re really paying for is a marketing machine. You’re just buying an image. And the items are often as cheaply produced - you are effectively paying more for less.
There is a middle ground though. When I’m looking for something new, especially for my home or office, I take the time to find items that I can value on a deeper level. I get a lot of pleasure from pieces that truly speak to me and that I feel actually reflect me as a person. I really enjoy the thrill of the hunt while I look for quality, style and uniqueness as well as practicality.
Some of my most treasured pieces of furniture come from Balgowlah based furniture makers Artifex Interiors. This business is a long-term collaboration between Master Craftsmen Anthony Sergas and Scott Lander, experts who understand how to blend creativity, form and function.
Anthony and Scott find honour in creating something beautiful and see the art that lies in craftsmanship. They have resisted the push towards cheap or brand, and instead produce custom made, unique and exceptional quality furniture that speaks to the provenance of the material and to the individual.
Everything produced in Artifex’s Balgowlah studio uses materials sourced ethically and sustainably from around the world. As they say, “if it can be imagined, it can be made”, and they reject the notion of furniture as disposable, building their cabinets and fine furniture to last.
Having Artifex pieces in my home and my office creates a style that is beyond fashionable and towards timeless. I treasure each item not only for their uniqueness, but for the time and consideration it has taken to create them. It’s a small part of the crusade to keep art, true craftsmanship and beauty in what is so special and unique, alive.