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Remodernising the playing field

Remodernising the playing field

From left to right, Jen Schilbach and Nic Gutierrez, photography by Kris Paulsen.

Bringing the adventurous spirit back into design, Remodern puts the emphasis on design that is rich in storytelling and unhindered in experimentation. We chat with founder and director, Jen Schilbach.

The field of designers, at home and overseas, are as dynamic as they are varied. And design studio Remodern, in a sense, is home to these voices in Australia. Besides a vast collection of functional lighting, furniture and objects, Remodern offers furnishings with a ‘functional art’.

Led by Remodern’s founder and director, Jen Schilbach, her ideology of upholding an adventurous sense of design sees her represent an exciting contingent of designers exclusively in Australia. 

Remodern - Remodernising the playing field
Bentu O2 Wall Light Terrazzo, photography courtesy of Remodern.

“With Remodern, my brother Tim and I wanted to introduce Australians to exciting, niche creations from emerging independent designers from around the world,” states Schilbach.

“We founded Remodern with a vision to introduce this exciting, niche, international design to Australia, and to do it with a personal and intimate approach, being the voice of our international designers locally.”

It’s a business model different from the norm. Still, it all stems from Jen and Tim’s adventures travelling to international design fairs, witnessing exceptional designers forging a path of innovation – many of whom they had never seen in Australia. 

The platform for Remodern was already built in Schilbach’s mind.

Remodern - Remodernising the playing field
Buzao Hot Collection, photography courtesy of Remodern.

On understanding the design world, and what to bring to Australia, Jen says, “The contemporary design landscape is incredibly dynamic, and there is a lot of great design out there. At Remodern we look for meaning; we value storytelling, unhindered experimentation, and simple, honest aesthetics with a strong focus on materiality. 

“Above all, we want to work with unique, original thinkers who don’t conform to trends – designers who are capable of breaking through the disarray of everyday life to ground us, even just for a moment.”

This lineup exclusively represents the likes of Bentu and Buzao. “Bentu – an experimental design studio based in Guangzhou, was a memorable milestone. At the time, we were both just beginning our journeys with design, and it has been amazing to learn and grow together.”

Remodern - Remodernising the playing field
Bentu Hui Basin Terrazzo, photography courtesy of Remodern.

And this growth has been shown with Remodern’s talents in furniture, lighting and design objects that embody the term ‘progressive design’. Yet these trend-setting attributes needed to change as much as the world did. But the design industry and the world changed, and so had Remodern. 

“When we first established Remodern, we were keen to work with as many designers as we could,” elaborates Schilbach. “We weren’t as discerning with the products and designers we chose to represent, and we wanted to say yes to everyone. This resulted in a highly diverse product range, only some of which was exclusive to Remodern.”

But during the pandemic, Remodern brought its focus to its strengths and passions.

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Bentu Nongzao Cell Table Lamp, photography courtesy of Remodern.

“The biggest changes we made were removing our e-commerce platform to focus solely on being a distributor, and also deciding to work only with designers that upheld our adventurous sense of design and that we could represent exclusively in Australia.”

In doing so, we felt we could best tell their stories to the Australian market and support emerging talent. Together with our passionate and personal approach to business, this has made Remodern unique in the Australian market.”

Remodern’s experimental ethos manages to find the sweet spot in understanding the intimate undertaking of creating someone’s home can be. And to craft a well-designed home in every aspect is an overarching goal for the practice.

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Buzao Hot Collection, photography courtesy of Remodern.

Nic Gutierrez, a key progressive designer, specialising in bespoke residential projects at Remodern, elaborates further on what makes Remodern unique. “Our collection injects life, texture, and often a sense of intrigue into their surroundings, and much like working with clients on their homes as an architect, we foster ongoing relationships with select designers in order to communicate their unique stories. That personal, small-scale, intimate approach to business is what sets us apart.”

Having been an architect for 15 years, Gutierrez has thrived in Remodern’s smaller scale. Being immersed in every facet of projects, the personal aspects are what makes Remodern so appealing for progressive designers in Australia.

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Bentu Nongzao E-MARS Pendant, photography courtesy of Remodern.

Gutierrez is just one designer in a practice that builds beautiful, bespoke creations. There’s only excitement in predicting what Remodern will do for the Australian design industry in years to come.

Gutierrez ties it up perfectly: “We’re proud of our personal approach to business, and we’re committed to honestly communicating our designers’ stories. Hopefully, this will reduce the distance and inspire greater connection between our designers and the local Australian market.”


Courtesy of Remodern

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Caelan Kaluder is the editorial assistant of both Habitus and Indesign. As a recent graduate of ANU, he fell headfirst into the world of the design curious. He has directed various plays and held a residency in Canberra Youth Theatre. He has also worked as a freelance writer and has a keen eye for finding the latest in the world of architecture and design - with a soft spot for all things creative in the workplace and at home.