We’re feeling festive at Decor + Design. In 2018, we’re celebrating our fifteenth birthday! Co-located with the Australian International Furniture Fair, we’ve grown into Australia’s No.1 Interiors Trade Event, with 350+ exhibitors set to grace the Melbourne Exhibition Centre for this year’s show, July 19th – 22nd.
It’s going to be a very special affair, with founding exhibitors Villa Maison set to make a star return this year! There’s a nice symbiosis in that Villa Maison is also turning fifteen! Founded by Elly Clues from her home in 2003, it has grown into a major presence on the Australian interior design scene.
With Elly’s European savoir faire and beautiful taste, Villa Maison has become synonymous with elegant luxury that’s still accessible.
In the lead up to Decor + Design, we asked Elly to tell us more about what the brand has been up to, her inspirations and what visitors can expect to see at the show.
We’re delighted that Villa Maison will be exhibiting at Decor + Design 2018! For those who aren’t familiar with the brand, can you give us some background on the company?
Villa Maison was founded by me in 2003. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, having travelled widely and lived in countries such as the UK, Tanzania, Belgium and France. I eventually settled in Australia – after marrying an Aussie man – and identified an opportunity to bring European decorating ideas to Australia. I started Villa Maison from a small office in our home. With only 30 sample products, no reserve stock, no warehouse and no employees, Villa Maison ventured into its first trade show in Sydney in February 2004 with a 3 x 3 meter stand. We not only won the best small stand award, but generated overwhelming interest in the products along with a very first sales order of just $200!
By the end of the first year, I was sourcing product from many suppliers, and within 2 years was designing and developing our own collections to suit the Australian market, whilst retaining a unique European style. Over the next 10 years, through dynamic growth, Villa Maison became a company employing over 35 people, supplying everything for the home, and exhibiting twice a year at the major trade shows. Recently, after a change of pace and lifestyle, Villa Maison is now focused only on furniture. We have created a wonderful situation where my husband and I work most of the year from France whilst maintaining a Sales team in Australia as well! Our key customers include decorators, stylists and retailers.
You design some of Villa Maison’s collections personally. How would you describe your design aesthetic? Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from many things I see. The shape of a building, the ribbon in someone’s hair, the colour of a dress, it is endless. I make mental notes all the time, or make a quick sketch in my little notebook. Being European, I also continually draw from my upbringing and back ground. I am lucky, as this provides me with a melting pot of images and memories of cultures that are close to my heart and have shaped me into who I am today.
I would classify Villa Maison as an extension of everything I love. My style is influenced by cold nights and red wine by the fire, country walks with my dog, warm summer days by the beach or entertaining friends and family at our home. When developing my designs I always have these experiences in mind. I love natural fabrics (we always use the best fabrics) and I love recycled and natural timbers, plus European and Hamptons inspired luxury. Plus – if I could, everything would be blue and white!
Have you noticed any particular trends in purchasing this year? What pieces are proving popular in contrast to previous years?
Natural linen and velvet has been a key trend recently, something I just love. Whilst I do not personally love Mid Century modern and Scandinavian, it is still a strong trend and I have interpreted a little of these trends into our new collections. Our new Sofa Raphael is an example of this. For this year bronzed metals and some stainless steel are also in demand. Our clients want simpler, ‘pared’ back yet classic modern designs. Smaller in size is often requested to suit smaller homes and apartment living.
Of course, good quality and good design never change and never go out of fashion. I have always tried to have a timeless design style that transcends trends.
The theme of the AH&G International Seminar Series this year at Decor + Design is ‘Everyday Luxury’ – whether that is created through luxe materials, bespoke design or small, everyday touches. How does Villa Maison approach the concept of luxury?
This year’s Decor + Design theme of “Everyday Luxury” could almost be our brand’s tagline! Luxury for me is all about relaxation and time to enjoy all the good things in life. Our sofas, for example, mostly have a mix of foam and feathers to create a luxurious feeling when sitting or lounging. In my view, that’s better than foam alone.
At the July show we are introducing the “Martine” chair, a refined chair, slimmed down yet regal in size and manufactured with glorious Ochre velvet. Once you sit down, this is the chair for you to relax, unwind in and enjoy. As a special treat, and with only a few available, we are introducing the wonderful “Sofa Vincent” in tobacco leather. This is a classic sofa but with a modern twist. Vincent is framed in a stylish solid wooden leg frame and is upholstered in rich Tobacco Leather buttoned all around. A truly exceptional sofa for a special home.
Finally, what can visitors to the show expect to see from you this year at Decor + Design?
As an original founding exhibitor with Decor + Design, we have a long relationship with this show and its visitors. We have been absent for a few years, but we are so excited to be back and present a completely new collection. Our new sofas have a more modern look, but still using luxurious velvets and linens. We are introducing a collection of occasional tables in wood with bronzed frames. Our “Sofa Vincent” in tobacco leather will be the star of the show. Our new “Sofa Cezanne” in teal velvet and bronzed metal legs is a completely new look for us and will be exhibited for the first time in July. We cannot exhibit our entire new collection but they can all be found on our web site for our trade clients!
Decor + Design are delighted to welcome Villa Maison back for the 2018 show, 19th – 22nd of July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Co-located with the Australian International Furniture Fair, it will feature 350+ exhibitors from across the spectrum of furniture, soft furnishings, lighting and homewares. Register now to see Villa Maison at Stand K26.