Friday, 18 September 2015


Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce

Superb bathroom fittings with a difference that are full of class, style
and functionality, crafted cleverly by Oliver Maclatchy

Tell us a bit about Wood Melbourne?
Wood Melbourne, is my bathroom fittings and fixtures company that basically formed through me not being able to find things I liked - so I started making them.
Tell us about yourself and your background? I love to travel but I am very much a Melbournian - it’s really good place to live and work at this point in time.
I have come from a carpentry background, i used to work with my father, building rooftop apartments, it was great fun and creative on a big scale. I’ve always been drawn to creative forms of work, usually with timber!

What sparked you to create Wood Melbourne?
I had been working on some designs and models for timber tapware. When I realised that no one else was doing this, it really motivated me to refine my work and get it out there. That was the beginning of Wood Melbourne and my range of pieces have grown from there.

What processes are involved in creating your pieces?
I usually make a simple version of something I have in mind. Once I’ve actually made it and can hold it or touch it, I have a better understanding of it, how it will and won’t work and what aspects of the making process are easy or hard.
After that, I’ll sit down and do some drawings, work through options for sizes or changes to dimensions on paper. Then get back into the workshop to make some more samples before it is refined.
I like things in life that are reliable and easy to use, so I like to put my designs to the test before I’m happy to make them available to other people to use. My workshop and yard has different pieces that are mid-test.

Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce

Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce

What inspires you in your designs?
Problem-solving is really inspiring. Sometimes the problems come from designs that aren’t working!
Speaking to clients about ideas for customised pieces can be great source of inspiration to refine those designs that have been unfinished or half-formed for a while.
I try to get in to our showroom every Saturday when we are open to the public and talk to people in there.
I like simple things that are beautiful in a raw and functional way - this drives my design approach.

What do you love the most about having your own label?
The freedom to do whatever I see fit and having a platform to launch new designs. Our newest pieces include raw brass as a feature material and will be out in a few weeks.

Who are some of your favourite designers?
Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa - I did some work in Sri Lanka in my 20s and thought his work was magical. He’s done amazing things with concrete. I was just able to appreciate his design aesthetic straight away and love it.
Tadao Ando’s architecture is another favourite. When my daughter was born I was given a wonderful book on his work as a congratulatory gift from a Japanese friend’s father. I wasn’t complaining!
Locally, I like the work from the Lab de Stu guys. Love that Mr Dowel Jones lamp. There’s so much great design work happening in Melbourne, I’m really glad thatI’m working here while it’s all happening. DAAST design from Sydney are making cool stuff too.

Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce

Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce

What is your favourite item in your store right now and why?
We have some of the new raw brass spouts on display in the showroom and I’m really excited about releasing these online in the next few days. They’re simple and elegant.

What has been your biggest highlight?
Having a beer with Kevin MacLeod at Grand Designs Live last year was pretty good! He really did know his stuff on all aspects of design.
It’s been exciting to realise how many people there are across so many parts of the country who are designing and creating and supporting those processes. We were so honoured to be able to launch Wood Melbourne on The Design Files. Those kinds of platforms are really beneficial to creative-based small business.

What are your plans for the future?
Long-term, I’d like to have a range of household products - outside the bathroom. I have some fixed and free-standing storage pieces that I’m refining at the moment - these will be out later this year.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your business?
We love to interact with people using our products and hear from them.


Styling: Stephanie Somebody. Photography: Tara Pearce
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