EX­PRESS FROM THE US Rachael Fry, cre­ative direc­tor of Mel­bourne’s Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion, has in­fused the Aus­tralian de­sign scene with an ex­u­ber­ant, ar­ti­sanal New York at­ti­tude

Rachael Fry, cre­ative direc­tor of Mel­bourne’s Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion, has in­fused the Aus­tralian de­sign scene with an ex­u­ber­ant, ar­ti­sanal New York at­ti­tude.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Contents - By VER­ITY MAGDALINO Pho­tographed by LAURENUREN BAM­FORD

CUT­TING- EDGE AMER­I­CAN DE­SIGN. This is what New York cre­ative direc­tor Rachael Fry de­cided Aus­tralia needed more of when she first opened the doors to Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion, her fur­ni­ture and light­ing show­room in the in­ner Mel­bourne sub­urb of Cre­morne, in 2012. “It struck me that ev­ery­one was do­ing Euro­pean pieces here, and no one was ex­plor­ing any other de­sign­ers,” says the re­tailer, who re­lo­cated to Mel­bourne six years ago. Today, Fry’s vi­sion­ary ware­house space has be­come the go-to for all things unique and ar­ti­sanal, with an ex­pand­ing sta­ble of brands that cur­rently in­cludes New York de­sign duo Ap­pa­ra­tus Stu­dio; Brook­lyn’s Fort Stan­dard; and the bold, sculp­tural light­ing of Man­hat­tan-based Bec Brit­tain. “Es­sen­tially, peo­ple come here to be in­spired,” says Fry, mat­ter-of-factly. “It’s my job to en­ter­tain them and to in­tro­duce them to re­ally in­ter­est­ing pieces.” In keep­ing with the gallery-like aes­thetic of the store, Fry favours a cu­ra­to­rial ap­proach, opt­ing for bian­nual themed in­stal­la­tions that qui­etly evolve ev­ery few months as she dis­cov­ers new de­signs. She then makes her se­lec­tion us­ing a check­list founded on in­tegrity, im­pres­sive ma­te­ri­al­ity and orig­i­nal ideas. “Choos­ing a new de­sign usu­ally starts with the way it makes me feel,” says Fry. “The re­ally ex­cit­ing pieces make me feel a bit un­easy. They’re al­most a lit­tle bit ugly or a bit strange.” This fo­cus on the ex­tra­or­di­nary mir­rors the de­mands of Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion’s de­sign-savvy clien­tele. It’s an ap­proach the vi­sion­ary cre­ative direc­tor looks for­ward to in­tro­duc­ing to Syd­ney, where she is plan­ning to open a sec­ond store. “Aus­tralians are de­mand­ing more tac­tile and craft-driven pieces, per­haps with a bit of an edge,” says ››

‹‹ Fry. “They don’t want their home look­ing like an ad. They want it in­jected with their per­son­al­ity.” Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion’s lat­est in­stal­la­tion pairs the play­ful and pro­gres­sive style of New York’s Mat­ter Made with the quirky sen­si­bil­ity and high-end craft of Ital­ian lux­ury fur­ni­ture maker Bax­ter. Fry grabbed in­spi­ra­tion from Mat­ter Made’s 2017 Mi­lan col­lec­tion, which mined the con­cept of the over­size form. “I was re­ally ex­cited about how the brand plays with size and form in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way, such as Faye Too­good’s Puff­ball light­ing col­lec­tion, which fea­tures a room di­vider that’s also a light,” says Fry. “It’s a com­plete anom­aly. I love how she’s ex­plor­ing things that are a bit un­canny, or an­thro­po­mor­phic.” Fry also fea­tures pieces in the in­stal­la­tion from Italy’s Pi­etro Russo, Por­tu­gal’s De La Es­pada, Mel­bourne’s Fred Ganim and Den­mark’s Gubi. And as for Bax­ter? “Bax­ter works in this con­text, as their de­signs are about choos­ing com­fort over a for­mal aes­thetic,” says Fry. “Peo­ple want that over­size feel, al­most like an an­i­mal, to en­velop them. I think all those things are re­ally in­ter­est­ing. They’re think­ing about fur­ni­ture in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way.”

Bax­ter Tac­tile arm­chair in Nabuck Saf­fron by Vin­cenzo de Cotiis; Sum­mer Arms chair in Kash­mir Terre; Rio Alta arm­chair in Nabuck Light Grey; Housse Giano sofa in Kash­mir Emer­aude, all by Paola Navone; Mat­ter Made Dis­cus pen­dants and Dis­cus Vine chan­de­lier, both by Jamie Gray.

from top: Cri­te­ria Col­lec­tion’s Rachael Fry with (clockwise from left) Bax­ter Casablanca sofa; Mat­ter Made Dis­cus pen­dants; Arca chan­de­lier; Slon cof­fee ta­ble; Dis­cus Vine chan­de­lier; Ap­pa­ra­tus Stu­dio Lantern 2 pen­dant; Pi­etro Russo’s Pi­uma din­ing ta­ble. Faye Too­good Puff­ball sconces and room di­vider for Mat­ter Made.

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