This article was submitted by Amber Sauni, NUPSA’s Equity Representative and a PhD student in Architecture.
Is there such thing as a furniture geek? I choose to believe there is. If anyone fits this description, it’s me – I can tell you from 100 metres away (don’t test me on this – I will OWN you) whether you’ve got yourself mildly interesting 80s era Parker, highly collectible 50s era Chiswell, yawn-inducing 90s era IKEA, or cringe-worthy any-era Fantastic Furniture. It should probably be noted that I’m also a bit of a furniture snob – don’t even get me started on the nightmare that is ‘shabby chic’.
I’ve always enjoyed making the space around me aesthetically pleasing. I’ve also been either an impoverished student, or an impoverished minimum wage worker for the vast majority of my life, which is clearly not conducive to acquiring amazing examples of design. How do I square this off? Cue stardust and sunshine – with thrifting!
I’m the person with the saved searches and email alerts for all manner of things, and I’m also the person who is constantly perusing ads to spot the best pieces, at the best prices, within a reasonable distance. My life is filled with garage sales, second-hand shops, classified ads (the fuel for my frenzied, insomnia-driven, midnight eye-candy binges) and y’know, negotiating prices and collection on items.
I know eras, I know textiles, I know styles, and generally speaking, I know at least ballpark figures on value. My home (and two full garages) are a testament to my out and proud furniture geekery. I have a constant revolving door system of inbound and outbound furniture, which means that I’m always frolicking happily in a never-ending game of “let’s style the house”.
As much as this is an enjoyable and satisfying pastime for me, at times it’s also been a very necessary way of supplementing my income. My first experience of moving out of home and across the state to attend uni at 18, was funded through the procurement of inexpensive but good quality furniture (and other items) which I sourced from auctions, then resold at profit.
Thankfully, I’m now at a stage in my life where I’m not reliant on reselling items to perpetuate my existence, which has probably helped to keep furniture “fun” for me. Aptly, my early experiences and interest in furniture and design are now closely aligned with my professional life as a product designer.
After many years of meandering life-path and goals that I wasn’t sure I would achieve, my love of furniture, decorating and design lead me to one of those “Eureka!” moments, which, frankly, I can’t believe I hadn’t considered far sooner. And that’s how I went from lowercase “furniture geek” to actual, practising furniture designer. I completed a Bachelor of Industrial Design in 2015, and I’m currently a PhD candidate in Architecture, which includes a practise-based component that will see me designing and installing public furniture in the Honeysuckle Precinct later this year.
While for some, their chosen field of geekery will remain a hobby, for me, giving myself over to what I love, lead me to a very satisfying career and higher education aspirations. But enough about that: I’ve got to go pick up a chest of drawers…