Maison Shanghai is a homewares fair that is collocated with the Furniture China exhibition, running concurrently at separate venues during the month of September. It was here I stumbled across an exhibitor with beautiful furnishings made from Australian timber and whose backdrop displayed an iconic Australian landmark – the Sydney Opera House.
Alas, I had found some fellow Aussies in Ross Wilding – founder and designer of Wild About Wood, and his buddy Craig Cock.
Words: Catherine Falalis
Back in Melbourne, I was eager to pick Ross’ brain about the humble beginnings of his business and how this Aussie brand made it all the way to the exhibitions of Shanghai.
“Our bespoke furniture venture started only a few years ago, after purchasing a number of different timber milling machines,” says Ross. “We now have a large collection of sustainably sourced local logs and timber slabs, and enjoy sharing their warm and unique characteristics with our clients.”
Curious about his influences, I asked Ross where his inspiration for his designs stem from and he noted that his childhood had a big part to play.
“As a child I spent my school holidays at my Nanna’s farm in rural North East Victoria. Far away from the inner suburbs of Melbourne, spending time playing in the beautiful natural landscapes, and getting lost in the stunning local forests lead to a real appreciation of the environment,” he explains.
“I do believe that we are certainly lucky to live in such an inspiring and magnificent country.”
Wild About Wood like to share the individual beauty inside each and every timber they cut from their logs, no matter how distressed they may be. “Our belief is that, the more faults a timber may have, the more of a story it has to share. Combining these character filled timbers, with raw materials such as glass and steel, we feel our designs are the perfect statement to fit into any modern interior project,” says Ross.
While Ross couldn’t pinpoint their most popular design, it is clear that their clients enjoy working with him in a collaborative manner to achieve their desired result. “It’s difficult to say which product is our most popular, as we get many different clients contacting us to talk about adjusting the design to suit their interior space,” he says.
“Whether that be customising the specific dimensions, to hand picking their own timber slabs from our collection, and we even have some clients become co-designers and drawn in their own glass lines onto the design.”
“Not a lot is really known about these ancient timbers. Carbon dating has them aged between 8600-8800 years old, which was around the time of the last mini ice age,” says Ross.
“These ultra-rare timbers have lain under their earth, untouched over this period, and sharing them with the world in their rawest form is a delicate operation. You can so very easily get carried away with their unique history, as each design starts to take its own shape, and you find yourself working in a completely different direction to when you had started.”
In discussing the benefits of exhibiting at an international trade show, Ross says the opportunities of showcasing Australian work in such a forum are endless.
“The opportunity to exhibit at a major furniture event like Maison Shanghai shares many benefits, such as international exposure, Chinese retail opportunities, and face to face contact with industry people from all around the world.”
“With individuals travelling from across the globe, as well as a large number of local Chinese buyers attending the Maison and Furniture China exhibitions, we are pleased we decided to exhibit, and are now expanding our sales into China and the Asia region,” he says.
Ross is very excited that he received such a wonderful response to all of the products they had on display at the fair. “We shared some of Australia’s most iconic timbers, in a variety of different designs suitable for both residential and commercial interiors. From dark Tasmanian Blackwood to light Australian Chestnut, the response was very welcoming from those who passed by our stand,” he says.
Wild About Wood have recently relocated to a larger manufacturing premises. You can visit their workshop and see their designs for yourself in their showroom: Factory 4, 4 Dunlop Court, Bayswater, Victoria.
For more information or to view their product range, visit: www.wildaboutwood.com.au