I met Narra of Branchout Furniture at Decor+Design 2019 where his work was selected for the trend tours and his Iguazu Dining Table being named the 'hero piece' of the entire expo. What an exciting experience! Describing it as being made from one single and large piece of timber, only gives you a faint idea of this unique piece, which must be seen live to truly appreciate it. Despite being carved into a functional item, the first impression I got was of being in the presence of an entire, massive trunk, and I couldn't resist touching it. "It is indeed a carved piece," Narra explains, "out of a one only piece of timber, bold in size and make, but as beautiful as nature made it."
images courtesy of Branchout Furniture
When asked about their business, Narra describes Branchout Furniture as "a small company focused on the creation of truly unique pieces of furniture, founded to introduce a new way to think of 'furniture' in Australia. Our ethos is to bring nature into people's home and introduce raw, beautifully imperfect creations back into our daily lives in a functional and artistic way, unique to my homeland."
Narra was born in a farmland state in Brazil within a large family who for generations have been farmers, tradesman and craftsman. "I grew up with a fascination for the creativity and almost innate skillset of local people and their incredible crafts. My experience and passion working with small communities and farmers led me to discover the beauty of Brazil’s natural resources and eventually the local art of handcrafting sustainable and recycled wood into furniture."
When asked to describe his style, he says: "Our contemporary organic design is raw and playful. Our furniture is crafted to be enjoyed for a lifetime and to share joyful moments with family and friends. We believe that the original beauty of our materials create pieces of furniture that are timeless. We don't follow a trend but are passionate about our materials and their timeless quality. We believe that a beautiful piece of wood that was beautiful 50 years ago, is still beautiful today and it will continue to hold its beauty and timeless quality 50 years from now."
"Our favourite material is wood, and we have decided to concentrate our energy on working mainly with a particular type of timber: Pequiá (Caryocar villosum) which can be found throughout the Northeast Region of Brazil and is commonly used for building boats and houses. The wood used in our products comes from the residue of other industries as well as dead or dying trees from well managed forests, and is 100% certified by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). By also using other materials, like steel, glass and acrylic, we are able to add functionality and playfulness to our designs."
Taking inspiration mostly from the Brazilian local nature and terrain, many Branchout Furniture pieces are crafted there and indeed named after rivers, cities and waterfall systems of Brazil. "The rough work is done in our workshop in Brazil, where we start by sourcing the wood to find a suitable piece based on its shape, size, grain, colour and 'imperfect' natural elements; then I do the fine finish once the furniture arrives in Australia. Some of our pieces are 'replicable', but most pieces are one-of-a-kind creations."
Do you work/connect with other Australian designers, I ask? "Absolutely. We are relatively new in the market in Australia, however we are starting to develop strong relationships with designers and architects mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. All of our pieces are custom-made and we work with our clients from beginning to end. We like to get very personal when creating a piece of furniture, and focus on understanding our clients’ expectations and background to allow us to craft their very own piece of functional art, which we hope will be enjoyed for generations to come."
And finally, what do you think makes good design? "Good design for me is about being true to the materials being used, and preserving their natural beauty without compromising functionality. We don’t live in a perfect world, and I believe we can create beautiful and durable furniture without hiding the “imperfection” of the materials. That is what we do at Branchout Furniture."
I am a strong supporter of the use of timber because of its natural beauty and sustainable qualities, and I do really love the concept of embracing natural imperfections, those unique features that give a story and makes such items so special. All of Branchout Furniture products come with a Certificate Of Sustainability. I highly recommend you to get in contact with them to enjoy their spontaneous and contagious enthusiasm as well as to see their unique products in person. More info on their website, at www.branchoutfurniture.com.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from: Interior Design For Profit is now available online.