Surrounded by the natural scenery of the Yarra River and various verdant winding trails, the Kett design team works from the creative hub of the historic Abbotsford Convent.
The studio, with its exposed brick walls and large windows, is brimming with vignettes, sketches and handcrafted prototypes. But it’s from outside the convent, not within, that the design team takes their inspiration.
“The act of drawing upon place to inform the collection allows us to bring the outdoors inside. From place we gain a sense of the importance of colours, shapes and form that are akin to a sense of our own identity,” says Kett design director Justin Hutchinson.
From the giant forests of Cape Otway to the Coastal grasslands of Johanna beach, Kett designs are inspired by the core concept of ‘Inside Looking Out’. That is, concentrating the essence of the Australian landscape – starting with Victoria’s coastal icons – into the design’s shapes and colour palettes.
With over two decades of experience, Kett’s design director Justin Hutchinson has been recognised on both a national and international scale. His passion for realising the inherent connection between the manufactured and the natural made him a perfect fit for the job, leading Kett’s directors, Colin Kupke and Shane Sinnot, to approach him when they founded the business in 2017.
While the natural environment provides the inspiration, it’s the specially selected small businesses and makers across Melbourne who ensure the output of consistently high-quality furniture. Kett’s design team works predominantly with local Australian makers and additional timber studios in Italy.
Kupke and Sinnot had built a wealth of experience representing European luxury furniture brands since 2008 through their company Cosh Living. When they founded Kett, they created a uniquely Australian brand that was determined by its premium quality and commitment to local Australian producers.
Despite being a relatively young studio, Kett focuses on creating enduring designs in both style and resilience. Each piece of furniture is crafted with the utmost care, and the use of Melbourne manufacturers means they can uphold strong relationships and support a local network of makers in Australia, such as timber artisans and stainers and metal workers.
As the brand’s devoted network of loyal fans in retail and trade continues to grow, Kett’s interest in the Australian aesthetic approach in colour palette and shape along with its commitment to high-quality materials and finishes hasn’t abated.
Studio photography Haydn Cattach