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Bold and unexpected, Markian has recently burst onto our local design radar. And so far, we’re remarkably impressed by what the design brand has to offer.

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While most of us spent the COVID lockdown period getting to know the internet more intimately than ever before, others took the opportunity to turn their passion projects into fully-fledged businesses. Roz de Waal and Christopher McKenzie come under the latter category, having launched Markian—a glamorous bespoke furniture and design accessories brand, based in Brisbane—while we were all busy on Zoom. 

Of course, Markian wasn’t conceived overnight. Nor are de Waal and McKenzie the only parents in the picture; co-founders Andrew and Justin Barrett had an equally important part in bringing Markian to life. A joint venture between two families, the Australian-born brand is deeply influenced by its decade’s worth of professional experience, industry knowledge and an undying passion for beautiful living. 

Named after their fathers, Mark de Waal and Ian Barrett, Markian’s legacy is deeply embedded into the DNA of every piece crafted under the brand.

With de Waal and McKenzie in charge of design and creative direction, the Barrett’s make it all happen, with over 50 years experience in commercial interiors as the heads of the Barrett Group, an interior fit-out and bespoke joinery manufacturer. Add to that de Waal and McKenzie’s complementary experience in design business, as founders of Unlmtd Design Agency and Armour Atelier, the creative duo have been pushing brands, spaces and projects to their limits for some time now.

Having been named 9 times a finalist in the Furniture Design, Concept Design and Colour Design categories of the 2021 Vibrant Visions In Design (VIVID) competition, evidently de Waal is doing something right as chief designer. But perhaps even more impressively, in the midst of designing and curating Markian’s range of distinctive design items, Markian has also found the time to design, fit-out and open its flagship showroom.

Situated on Brunswick Road, the main thoroughfare between Brisbane suburbs New Farm and Fortitude Valley, the showroom is in a prime location. It’s quaint, standalone, double-fronted heritage shopfront feels remarkably ‘Markian’, grounding the showroom in a sense of lightness and nostalgic charm, amongst its bustling locale. 

Inside, the showroom space is clean and minimalist—finished from floor to ceiling in a palette of light neutrals, giving command of the space entirely to the design pieces on show—with a touch of de Waal’s distinctive glamour seen in the golden shop counter and the three Markian pendants that hang delicately above it.

An archway that doubles as a materials library is one of the showroom’s highlight design features, and even of Markian’s offering in general. Featuring pull-out panels, each representing a distinctive colourway, each with featuring a choice of 3 materials: Dulux paint, Warwick Fabrics, and Markian’s own polymer-based hybrid solid surface solution, Marblo. Between the 9 colourways and 3 material choices on offer, clients can customise any piece of Markian furniture exactly to their liking, and have it made to order. 

It’s been little more than a hot minute since Markian was officially released out into the wild world of design. And already, evidently, the home-grown designer/maker/retailer of luxurious, commercial-quality bespoke furniture, art and design accessories has made an impressive mark on our local design scene. Maybe something good did come out of COVID, after all. 

Photography by Mitch Lowe 

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