Narra Schuenker, Branchout Furniture

Love pulls us in remarkable directions. When Narra Schuenker met a beautiful Australian girl studying on exchange at his University in Brazil, little did he imagine fate would lead him on a winding path to the Decor + Design trade show in Melbourne this July.

Narra spoke little English and his paramour’s Portuguese was hardly any better. Yet such hurdles didn’t stop them falling in love. Not unlike the whimsical plot of a Richard Curtis rom-com, soon the two were married and Narra was living in Sydney, learning English and attempting to put his degree in Agriculture to use.

It was on one of their trips back to Brazil that Narra fell in love again, this time with extraordinary wooden furniture handcrafted by artisans in São Paulo. Narra had always had a deep passion for architecture, design and furniture. Growing up on a farmland state in Brazil, he was fascinated by the creativity and innate skill of local people.

He began to dream of a business which would nurture and promote the artistry and materials of his homeland, as well as the use of sustainable and recycled wood into furniture.

Testing the waters and process, Narra initially imported twenty beautiful Brazilian cowhides, which are acknowledged as the best in the world. Given their success, he dived headfirst into his new gambit. From romance, Branchout Furniture was born!

We’re delighted that Branchout Furniture will be launching their stunning collection at Decor + Design, Australia’s No.1 Interiors Trade Event. The show will take place from the 18th – 21st of July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and feature over 500 leading brands.

Branchout’s new collection will showcase the best of Brazilian craftsmanship; all certified sustainable. Each piece takes a long time to produce, with all the wood drawn from land in northeast Brazil that the government carefully monitors for sustainable harvesting and regeneration.

The wood only comes from the residue of other industries, dead or dying trees, and well-managed forests, certified by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).

The wood is then transported to São Paulo, where it is air dried for a year, a process which increases the quality and durability of the wood.

The craftsmen of São Paulo then get to work, carefully turning the wood into usable art. It can take up to three weeks for a piece.

One of our favourites is the Iguazu table (below) which took two weeks to craft from hand.

Iguazu Table, Branchout Furniture

For Narra, the birth of Branchout Furniture brings many areas of his life together:

“For me it is a way to stay connected with Brazil, and give back to the community there, while also bringing its unique style and craftsmanship to my new country of Australia.”

The company strives to be as sustainable as possible, recycling wood and using offcuts and residue to make interesting pieces. The old, varnished wood looks incredible juxtaposed against modern materials like glass, such as in the Parana table (below).

Paraná  Table

Made from the Brazilian hardwood of Pequiá, the weighty timber is cut with a live edge and accented with hand-cut glass. The meandering detail is inspired by the Paraná river in Brazil, the second-longest river in South America and a famous destination for keen bird watchers.

In fact, the timeless pieces in the Branchout Furniture collection are all underpinned by the magical stories of Brazil. The Itu Dining Table (below) is named for a city in the southeast of Brazil that is known for oversized objects. At four metres in length, this stunning table is the perfect feature piece for outside or in.

The Pequiá wood used in the extended top also fits well with Australia’s indoor/outdoor aesthetic and burnished colour palette.

Itu Dining Table

The beauty of this furniture is that no two pieces of wood are the same:

“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.”

Love to see these stunning pieces in real life? Register now to attend Decor + Design, 18th – 21st July in Melbourne. Narra and Branchout Furniture will be at Stand F37!