The Custom Made Home: Project 82
Quality, hand-crafted sofas and furniture are hard to come by these days. That's why we're beyond excited to have been able to get the chance to chat to Shelley Mason, owner of Project 82 - Australian furniture brand designed and curated in Sydney. Their collections offer simple designs, beautifully made for everyday living. Read on below to find out more about the brand and why we can't get enough of it...
Can you tell us a bit the beginnings of Project 82 and how that has impacted the business to develop into what it is today?
The business and how it started was very much an experiment at the time. Back in 2010, I was a traditional retailer selling furniture, lighting and smaller accessories, but very quickly found opportunities to provide design advice and furniture packages to clients who needed help curating their homes and workplaces.
Over the years, we’ve provided a range of design-related services, but eventually landed in the world of designing and manufacturing sofas. We found that there was a real need in the Australian market for well-priced, locally produced sofas with the scope for customization.
More recently, I’ve evolved the business into something much more ambitious.
I have been commissioning local designers and manufacturers to produce sofas for about seven years now, but about 2 years ago, I took the leap away from the traditional retail model and evolved Project 82 into a brand in its own right.
I’d been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing local furniture designers who really helped in the early days to define the Project 82 aesthetic. This, coupled with our excellent old-school style local manufacturing team has proven to be a winning combination which now sees us marketing and selling our beautiful furniture throughout Australia and beyond.
Project 82 designs, curates and produces 2 of our very own collections - Staple&Co offering premium, original and customizable designs that are all produced locally in Sydney. And Design Kiosk– an imported collection of smaller furniture items that don’t skimp on quality and sit well with our premium locally produced collections.
We love that you collaborate with emerging designers to produce locally made pieces – why does Project 82 focus on this?
Firstly, it is amazing to be supporting local business (both designers and manufacturers) by producing quality, well-designed and original furniture. It has been a point of difference for Project 82 for some years now forming the foundation of the business as it is today.
Competition is so fierce in the market these days, and its now more than ever key to ensure that you have original pieces to avoid entering a price war with your competition.
Who manufactures and designs your current collections? And where are these pieces made?
We have a few key designers for the Staple&Co collection. Cameron Foggo of Nonn as created many of our most popular pieces including the Lennon, Hawley and Walter sofas along with the Wrench dining table, Sandy Bed, Cleveland Coffee table and our new Jack dining table. CM Studios designed our Louis sofa along with the Frank Bed, Norman Ottoman and Harry Coffee table, and most recently Tom Fereday has designed for us the acclaimed Tatami sofa.
All items are made-to –order in our local workshops, using time-honoured traditional techniques and a lot of TLC.
Our Design Kiosk collection is sourced and curated by myself. I’ve travelled and sourced each piece from a variety of international suppliers who use the best materials and manufacturing techniques. Each piece has been created with the Project 82 aesthetic in mind, offering simple, timeless and high quality pieces that won’t break the budget. These are made in a variety of locations across Asia and Europe.
Can you talk us through the locally made collections at Project 82.
Our 100% locally made Staple&Co collection offers classic and timeless pieces with simple lines using the best quality materials.
All of our sofas can be made in a huge variety of standard sizing and materials. Seat depths, lengths and custom configurations are all doable – made up in your fabric or leather of choice. We offer a variety of timber and metal leg finishes to suit your scheme and space.
Our timber dining and coffee tables can also be customised with a variety of timber options and colour finishes. We can even custom-colour to match an existing piece.
Manufacturing time varies from 6-10 weeks, depending on the workshops’ current workload.
Project 82 is known as being custom sofa specialists – why do you think it’s important for someone to have a custom-made sofa over one that is store-bought?
Being able to offer customisation gives a huge amount of scope to create something which is truly unique to a client’s space. Each client will have a completely different criteria for their project – The type of family, any pets, the budget & physical location can all have a bearing on deciding what is the best option to go with – for both material and configuration. These variables can all be accommodated by offering a complete custom service – which is a real point of difference for Project 82.
What makes Project 82 unique to other furniture companies today?
Over time, our collection has grown to include a cohesive range of timeless pieces which work with a number of different interior styles.
The Project 82 brand has a clear and intentional look and feel and pairs clean lines and quality workmanship to create furniture which is effortlessly liveable.
We blend our high end locally made pieces with more cost-effective options, meaning bringing a cohesive space together does not necessarily need to break the bank.
What are some of your current favourite Project 82 pieces?
My two favourite pieces from our collections, are still the Lennon sofa and the Cleveland coffee table. They’re some of the oldest original pieces in the collection and have definitely stood the test of time. The Lennon sofa was first designed for me back in 2013 and has not dated a bit. The Cleveland timber tables are sturdy and beautifully well proportioned. Mine at home is in the 1100 size and doubles as a low dinner table for casual family meals.
If someone was after a locally made item for their living room – what pieces from project 82 would you suggest?
I’d usually suggest starting with the largest pieces – the sofa. Once fabrics and style of this has been locked in, it is easy to pair other pieces like tables, occasional chairs, rugs and lighting to complete the space.