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From little things, big things grow

From little things, big things grow

In celebration of 20 years in business, Great Dane founder Anton Assaad reflects on the trajectory thus far, and what lies ahead.

It’s often the markers of time passing that make us take pause and contemplate. In a world enamoured with speed and growth, stepping out of the humdrum of everyday life to create moments of celebration is even more vital.

Reaching 20 years in business has been a milestone for Australian furniture brand Great Dane. And one which provided the opportunity to honour the journey so far.


The Melbourne Great Dane showroom was transformed for an intimate celebration of the brand’s 20 years | Photography by Annika Kafcaloudis

Looking back on the humble beginnings, the business model has adapted and shifted, but the core tenets have remained the same. “We have never waivered in our desire to curate Scandinavian craft for the Australian market and will always work with outstanding makers to supply investment pieces,” says Assaad.

Initially founded as a reseller of vintage furniture, Great Dane has morphed and evolved into so much more – yet the mission remains the same: bring true craftsmanship to the fore.

Through strong relationships with some of the most established makers in Scandinavian craft, Assaad has forged a path where legacy and tradition reign supreme.

It hasn’t always been easy. Just as Assaad had to adapt the offering and be nimble, many of these makers are trying to keep dying skills alive. “Years of experience working in this field has seen us grow strong relationships with makers who have upheld third-generation family legacies like that of J.L. Møller. Others have shown us the sad truths and dying art of Scandinavian craft, whereby workshops once home of 300+ workers have dwindled to only 12,” he shares.

While the pandemic presented many challenges, Great Dane has gone from strength to strength by putting emphasis on the tactile and robust. Assaad sees the quality and beauty found in these handcrafted masterpieces as a panacea to the increasingly digital and disconnected world around us.

“I think nowadays with everyone being glued to technology devices, there is something truly beautiful about engaging with objects and interiors that have been crafted by the hand, where you can actually see that there have been human hands in the manufacturing of the piece. Beauty in the handmade has never been more important now to soothe the senses in an otherwise chaotic world.”

With connection top of mind, what better way to celebrate 20 years than with an intimate dinner. Sharing a meal over the dinner table is a universal antidote to isolation. The dinner recognised the Great Dane journey and gave a warm thank you to all those who have contributed to the brand’s story up to now. Special guests were welcomed into the Melbourne showroom, which was transformed for the evening to unfold, while exquisite food was prepared by world-renowned Michelin star chef Greg Malouf.

The story isn’t finished for Great Dane though. When asked about what’s around the corner, Assaad shares that there are many projects on the horizon. A brand new “home of Scandinavian design” has just opened its doors in Brisbane, bringing the sought-after and highly desirable pieces north.

A new website is also in the works, envisaged as “a place to tell stories and share our love of Scandinavian design”, as well as an exciting collaboration that Assaad is coy to share too many details on.

It’s safe to say the next chapter of the Great Dane journey is shaping up to be both consistent with the legacy of the past, while pushing into new territory.

Great Dane
greatdanefurniture.com

Photography by Annika Kafcaloudis


Author:

Aleesha Callahan is the editor of Habitus. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Aleesha seeks out the unique people, projects and products that define the Indo Pacific region. Aleesha was previously the editor of Indesignlive.com and has written and contributed to various publications and brands in her 10 years in the architecture and design industry, bringing intimate insight to her stories having first trained and practised as an interior designer. Her passion for mid-century design and architecture began while living and working in Berlin.