Fam­ily col­lec­tion

Bec Dowie re­flects on a new range and a decade of de­sign with her fa­ther Dou­glas Snelling in their ex­pand­ing busi­ness.

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Dou­glas & Bec’s decade of de­sign and new range

“I never set out to be a de­signer as such,” says Bec Dowie, one half of fa­ther-daugh­ter busi­ness Dou­glas & Bec. “I just loved mak­ing beau­ti­ful things with my fa­ther.” Ten years on – “We strive for ex­cel­lence, but we still have a lot to achieve” – Dowie and Snelling have re­leased a new range, ‘Arch’, which draws on the curvi­lin­ear shapes of the 1920s and 1930s. There’s a per­sonal his­tory in the col­lec­tion, with ref­er­ences to your grand­par­ents and great aunt. How did that tran­spire? There’s al­ways a per­sonal nar­ra­tive in my work. I was lucky to grow up sur­rounded by art and beauty. It wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily lux­u­ri­ous, since we lived on a mod­est farm, but there was un­der­stated style – and ev­ery­thing had a func­tional pur­pose. Why did that pe­riod ap­peal? My fam­ily had fur­ni­ture of this era; it evokes ro­mance and fem­i­nin­ity. It’s dis­tinctly mod­ern – how did you keep it con­tem­po­rary? Play­ful­ness and mod­ern tac­til­ity are al­ways ev­i­dent in my work and ar­tic­u­lated in the shapes and ma­te­ri­als that lend a con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic. You took time over this col­lec­tion. The de­sign process has be­come slower, which brings a depth of thought and strong con­cep­tual grounds. There’s a lot of re­search, cri­tique and res­o­lu­tion to it. Con­trary to our nos­tal­gic tip-of-the-hat, this col­lec­tion uses CNC, rapid pro­to­typ­ing and LED sys­tems, as well as tra­di­tional tech­niques of steam bend­ing, cane work and wood turn­ing. Tell us about your new Mel­bourne store. Aus­tralia is an ex­pand­ing mar­ket for us – we opened there in 2014. To give the new show­room the sin­cer­ity of Dou­glas & Bec, we worked with in­te­rior ar­chi­tect Ru­fus Knight, who we’ve col­lab­o­rated with on projects over the years. He knows ex­actly what I’m try­ing to achieve with brand iden­tity.

Bot­tom The ‘Arch’ van­ity chair and pen­dant are all curves.

Left The ‘Arch’ wall light in­cor­po­rates el­e­gant folded brass. The pow­der-coated steel base of the ‘Arch’ ta­ble lamp meets cir­cu­lar pan­els.

Be­low A van­ity, floor lamp and side ta­ble are also in­cluded in the col­lec­tion.

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