In Conversation With—Jane Witaker, Cosh Living

At Wyer & Co. it can be said that our best work is often achieved through collaboration with likeminded creatives. Welcome to In Conversation With, a novel series highlighting the processes and philosophies of our suppliers, collaborators and industry partners.

This week we're joined by Jane Witaker, Business Development Manager at Cosh Living. Widely known for their contemporary furniture collections and philosophy of discreet luxury we discuss the inspiration behind their offering and how the brands they partner with continue to innovate within the parameters of refined, timeless design.

Q—Thanks for joining us, Jame. Tell us more about Cosh Living. How did it all begin?

A—Happy to be here! Cosh Living was founded in 2008 by friends Colin Kupke and Shane Sinnott. They loved the beautiful, contemporary outdoor furniture collections that were abundant in Europe, and recognised a need in Australian for them.

Together they decided to establish a company that was focused on bringing the best mid to high-end outdoor collections from Europe to the Australian market, and have been doing so ever since. In 2016, Cosh added indoor furniture to its offering — and have since developed our own unique Australian brand Kett.

Q—What is your underlying philosophy?

A—Our philosophy is all about practical, comfortable and beautiful furniture for both indoors and out. The concept of discreet luxury underpins everything we do — its about a feeling of luxury with a considered and restrained Australian approach.

Q—Can you provide inside to your sourcing process?

A—We represent an array of brands, and each year run both cherished favourites and new arrivals from them. When looking for those exciting new pieces, we are careful to select furniture that makes sense with our philosophy and core range. We steer away from jumping on trend bandwagons, especially when it doesn't make sense with what we do.

In having a harmonious approach to sourcing, it allows our clients to mix and match across our entire range. We love that our client's don't just have to buy the sofa, lounge chair, coffee table and footstool all from the same collection —they can be more creative with what they choose. You can be driven by the details and materials you love and want to live with for a long time to come.

The pieces we source need to be expertly made, have timeless appeal, and of course our outdoor collections need to stand up to Australian weather conditions!

Q—How do you select the brands you work with?

A—We look for brands with a strong identity and clear design influence.

The concept of discreet luxury really guides us when choosing brands. Australians aren't into over-the-top opulence —many of us recoil from anything that feels showy or ostentatious. We prefer furniture that feels unpretentious and honest in design and materiality. European furniture traditionally has a reputation for opulence, so we select leading European brands that are pioneering refined, timeless designs that translate to the Australian audience.

We look for the brands we work with to have a point of view, and search for those who are engaging exceptional designers for their collection. We like to walk in the door and have an immediate sense of what the brand is about (and we hope our clients get the same sense walking in our door, too!).

Q—What informs, and diversifies your products offering?

A—Our core offering is contemporary and uncomplicated, filed with durable essentials with a design edge.

We love to include pieces that push the boundaries of form and material, while still remaining classic, like the sculptural Tao table by Monica Armani for Tribu.

Introducing DEDON to our outdoor range in 2019 added a vibrant attitude, and offered incredible sculptural silhouettes to our collections. Atelier Vierkant, a Belgian company who make these unique hand-made pots, are unlike any other we have seen, exceptional in their use of minimalism, texture and scale.

Q—Rather than trends we prefer to focus on materials, craftsmanship and technique —how are the brands you work with innovating within these qualities?

A—Tribu have an amazing array of designers and craftspeople, and really embrace innovation. Tribu have recently introduced Lavastone into their collections. Working with the Ranieri family in Italy, they are turning a 400-year-old material (calcified lava and sand) into exquisite, glazed table tops.

The Tosca collection, designed by Monica Armani for Tribu, has become somewhat of an icon! The material for the braiding is fascinating, a foam mousse is encased in a seamless sheath of knitted textilene and polyolefine, making it weather-resistant, but also surprisingly soft to the touch. It took Armani and her team many, many iterations to get the Tosca weave perfect, and you just know it's going to be one of those enduring, historic designs of our time.

Our Frame Living System, designed by Justin Hutchinson for Kett, was many years in the making. Sustainability and health were key considerations in the development of Frame with a requirement that all materials were free of formaldehyde, phenols, solvents, PVC or melamine and made completely here in Australia.

Q—What's next for Cosh Living?

A—Our focus for the future is on growing our Australian designed and made offering. The vast majority of our Kett indoor furniture collection is Australian made, and we would like to see more of our offering follow suit.

We have new collections arriving soon from Tribu —the Nodi Sofa and Dunes table are a couple of highlights. We also have some top secret collections due to be released by Kett this year —you'll have to stay tuned for those!