The range of furniture produced by MARK TUCKEY has an honesty, warmth and sense of comfort about it. Locally made in Melbourne – from solid timber with the inherent texture that this embodies – their clean, customisable designs have often featured in our projects over the years. Particularly at home in beach houses and relaxed city homes, their unfussy but well proportioned tables are favourites of ours. Following the recent launch of their latest endeavour Mark Tuckey + Cotton On, we sat down with Mark to discover more about their journey, passion and the joy of doing what they love for a living…
How did the MARK TUCKEY story begin?
I started MARK TUCKEY because of a passion to design and make environmentally friendly and sustainable solid timber furniture. The very beginning was just me, my old F100 truck and a couple of hundred dollars. The passion was and is always to be involved in a creative process that is environmentally friendly. I wanted to do something that allowed me to use my head, my heart and my hands. Louella came on board in 2005. She brings a background in furniture and interior design, freelance art direction and styling. Her focus is design and the overall look and feel of the business. We have been creating furniture together for the past 10 years now and have loved every minute of it. We have a showroom in Fitzroy Melbourne and the workshop is just up the road from there. We have a second shop at Newport Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where we live with our two girls Chilli and Indigo and a menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and rabbits.
What has been the journey to where you are now?
I have no tertiary education and like many people I have studied at the ‘university of life’. After leaving school I was never really idle, having all sorts of jobs from laboring, building, modelling ski clothing, being a private investigator just to name a few. It’s a long list, experience and knowledge was gained from each and every one. My background includes a little experience working in some creative pursuits and a few years designing and producing my own range of men’s clothing. After that I gained valuable experience as PA to the owner of a busy furniture business. One of my main motivators to get up every day is to do something I love, as opposed to doing something because it makes money. Running a business does have a lot of challenges, in the early days learning to delegate was hard. Manufacturing in Australia is rare these days – some see it as a challenge, however we are passionate about the integrity of our product, maintaining a low foot print and supporting Australian business, so at the end of the day despite the challenges, it’s an added bonus and makes what we do extremely rewarding. It’s been one pretty amazing journey so far – can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.
What is the philosophy that drives your business and design choices?
Our philosophy is and has always been to design and make things we LOVE and want in our own home. Our aim is to always create furniture that has integrity, simplicity and strength – we design furniture to last. We believe in making solid timber furniture locally from recycled and sustainable timber sources. Being unique is pretty hard these days, working hard and smart and believing we can succeed has always been our practice. We don’t ‘follow fashion’ as such but we are a tad partial to Scandinavian design. Together we work everyday to ensure that the business stays on track, creating beautiful furniture – for life.
Where do you find inspiration?
The inspiration behind our design aesthetic stems from us making things we would have in our own home. It’s minimal in its complexity, focused on quality, form and function. We love using solid timber. It is in a league of its own. A beautiful thing about solid timber furniture is that it takes advantage of the natural features of timber including grain and coloring. Each type of timber has it’s own distinct features allowing each piece of furniture to be varied and unique. Because solid timber furniture is repairable and beautiful it will last and be loved for generations, becoming part of the family. Solid timber furniture is here to stay.
What products do you enjoy designing the most?
Tables are the core of our business, we love designing them. Why? Because the majority of Australians love to entertain – and doing it around a beautiful MARK TUCKEY timber table makes it that extra bit special. It’s usually a statement piece and focal point of the living/dining area. We love designing something that brings the family together and makes it feel like a home. We love our round tripod table, and the sleigh loop for rectangular.
You recently launched a range in collaboration with Cotton On, what drew you to this opportunity?
We are so excited about the opportunity to work with Cotton On. What drew us to the partnership was that we could design a relaxed and fun collection that will allow us to introduce the MARK TUCKEY brand to people all over the world. Everyone can have a piece of MARK TUCKEY in their home. It was important to us to partner with a like-minded, brand, whose values aligned with our own. Like the MARK TUCKEY brand, Cotton On takes its ethical responsibility very seriously and has a stringent Ethical Sourcing program which guides their supply of all Cotton On products, including the new MARK TUCKEY + Cotton On collection.
How do you see MARK TUCKEY evolving in the future?
We aim to keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing for the last 24 years but with more wisdom after all the trials and tribulations and with our designs evolving. I’m so grateful that my career is something I’d want to do even if I didn’t have to work.