The AJAR collection of 15 brands, majority of which are new to Australian shores, is emphatically contemporary and original in design – suited to both commercial and residential applications.
July 8th, 2014
Above: Casadesus “Shelby” bed
AJAR is the name behind the collingwood-based design team who curate, import, custom design product for spaces and install – spanish furniture (for indoors and out), joinery, lighting and homewares.
Directors Andrew Boddington (interior designer), Josep Vallhonrat (Spanish born and trained architect) and Richard Fanale (interior designer), joined forces in 2012 to launch the niche business. The design trio has an impressive pedigree in design – garnered locally and internationally – making a formidable sales team. All three have worked for high-end architectural firms, while Boddington previously worked with Poliform, as did Fanale who brings additional sales expertise from Top 3 by Design.
They have also pooled the letters of their first names to arrive at the clever acronym – AJAR. In a play on the definition – of leaving the door partly open, “the underlying philosophy of AJAR is to be open to new design and ideas,” explains Vallhonrat. Indeed they identified the Australian marketplace’s eagerness for something fresh and an unfilled gap for Spanish product.
“We understood the limitations we have in Australia when specifying high quality, designer European brands at compatible prices,” adds Fanale.
The product line-up is built on strong relationships. The AJAR team has visited many of the Spanish design houses that they represent and which are predominately located– in Barcelona and Valencia. “This enables us to pass on design stories directly from the makers as well as the manufacturing techniques behind each piece,” says Boddington.
“As designers we realised that Spanish design is on par with Italian design. Spanish design has always been well received and well known for creating innovative products throughout Europe for centuries.”
And while Australia has been smitten with the “Nordic puritanism” of Danish design for some time, the Australian market is embracing the “Latin flamboyance” and “quirky, playful” quality that characterises the AJAR collection of Spanish designs.
Since launching AJAR in 2012, market uptake has been extremely positive. “We are finding that the Australian A+D community and the increasingly designaware public, recognise the detailing, the design of the product and the quality manufacturing,” says Vallhonrat.
“Quite particular to the Iberian Peninsula,” says Fanale, “is the centuries of traditions of manufacturing and handicrafts. Contemporary designers can use that knowledge to create new products that re-interpret old designs or features – to make something fresh.”
For clients who are familiar with some of the Spanish brands on offer – the dream of being able to specify the modular and customisable product for projects with ease of access – is now a reality.
Resonating with the Australian market are the very “unusual, designs, their elegance, execution, level of detailing, innovation and amazing quality control,” says Boddington.
“Spanish designs, especially emanating from Barcelona – are not afraid to do things differently.”
AJAR has curated Spanish furniture manufacturers that carry the work of both well known Spanish designers and those collaborating with designers from all over Europe.
The level of service provided, like the carefully procured collection, is unique. Not only do customers have direct access to design advice in store, AJAR get to know a client’s design aesthetics through site visits – commercial and residential settings alike. “As designers, we can assist clients with their functionality needs in a space – and draw those up and design appropriate product for their space.”
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