Already sharing a workshop, Oku Space founders Nick Rennie, Brett Julian, and Dustin Fritsche decided to combine their expertise to develop a range of furniture with a strong emphasis on design and quality. Every piece of Oku Space furniture is considered and beautifully crafted.
The idea behind Oku Space took shape as the world began to experience the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was early February 2020, and there was an air of uncertainty around what the future might bring when Dustin and Brett floated the idea to Nick of developing something together. It was the simple question, “why don’t we manufacture your designs here?” that led to the formation of Oku Space. All three had been sharing a workshop space in Alphington for a number of years so had become good friends and knew the strengths in each other’s work — Brett and Dustin’s extensive furniture manufacturing experience, and Nick’s expertise in developing award-winning product designs.
Our main aim is to create beautiful, usable objects that are made locally by the team here in Melbourne. We believe strongly in the quality of design and manufacture available in Australia, and are focussed on producing high-end sustainable furniture for both the residential and commercial markets. Our ambition is to find like-minded clients who believe in buying something that will last a lifetime.
Oku Space’s first collection consists of eleven pieces across a range that offers a strikingly diversity collection of storage, seating, dining, and office furniture. The timber-focused collection is a demonstration of the experience and expertise of all three founders — design precision combined with skilled craftsmanship.
The flagship product is the beautiful OS1, a dining chair that can be stacked four high and is available in a range of solid timbers with or without an upholstered seat. The main objective in designing OS1 was to create a chair that is functionally robust, beautiful as a stand-alone object, and also able to be stacked if needed. “I find chairs to be the most challenging design, as whilst comfort is most fundamental, they need to be functional as well, and this is where I think stackability is so important,” Nick says. “Whilst we understand that they might not be used as a stacking chair, especially in the home environment, the benefit from a shipping perspective is really important as it allows us to minimise the possible carbon footprint of the object in an area that is often overlooked.”
Sustainability is considered at all stages of the design and manufacturing process. “It’s something we as a group are incredibly proud of and always striving to improve,” says Dustin.
This can also be seen in the Rakii Coat Stand design.
“Generally, when machining and cutting raw lengths of timber to size to be used in manufacture, you are left with offcuts of various sizes” explains Brett. “It was upon entering the workshop one day that we saw a number of thin four-metre lengths stacked against the wall in the corner, and ideas started to form around the possibility of how we could use them.” The result is the Rakii Bentwood Coat Stand.
It’s this thinking that Oku Space hopes will resonate with people — the idea that something has been designed and manufactured with a considered approach towards creating a beautiful, functional object, whilst using honest materials and responsible production methods.
Design | Oku Space