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Something Beginning With…

Designers Lisa Vincitorio and Laelie Berzon have teamed up to create a brand new Australian made and manufactured furniture range. Indesignlive spoke to the pair about the inspiration and ideas behind the collection.

Something Beginning With…


January 16th, 2012

How did you and Laelie get to working together, and what does each of you bring to the collaboration?

We previously worked together in the furniture industry. The idea of collaborating to launch a furniture collection never crossed our minds at the time. However, both having a conscientious understanding within today’s market, a passion for furniture design and a determination and longing to one day fill a niche in the market, brought us to the conclusion that we had an ’idea’ that was promising and of great potential.

An ignition of brainstorming and conceptual sketches followed to form the brand SBW, a Melbourne-based brand which strives to unify the functional with the visually captivating to create a unique and balanced product blend.

Our collaboration forms a strong and inspiring fusion. I [Vincitorio] partnered with Alessi in 2005 and achieved worldwide recognition for my designs with them. I also won an award at Tokyo designers block 2005. I currently have numerous products in production and supply with Australian distributors and commissioned to design furniture for events. I [Berzon] have a background in Interior Design and Fine Arts, teamed with a solid grounding of the furniture industry.

Our combined experience and thorough knowledge of our target market has enabled us to produce a dynamic furniture collection that has relevance and longevity.

You say that the collection is a culmination of your research, travel and passion for design – can you tell me a bit about what/who/which places influenced you in creating this line?

We are both well travelled and have a holistic outlook on design and life in general. We have been indirectly inspired by the many places we have visited in our travels. Our greatest inspiration and affection for design stems from the Scandinavian and European countries we have visited.

SBW is the result of our understanding of what our clients need for their projects. In our age of classic design reproductions, mass production, when everything seems to be made overseas, we understand the need for authenticity and creative design. Our mission is to bring easy access to owning and enjoying innovative and elegant quality Australian-made designs at a cost effective price point and short lead-time.

We want to help our clients discover and acquire the finest Australian-made furniture available today.

Our understanding of our clients’ requirements has definitely played an imperative role in guiding us through the design process. The beauty and point of difference of SBW is that we’re able to customise our product range, tailoring it to our clients requirements; whether this be variation in both height and size or surface finish. Our range is extremely versatile. We also provide a design service, whereby we can custom design a product specifically for your project.

What are the key elements to bridging the gap between residential, commercial and hospitality design?

Having the intention to design a range which is suited towards the residential, commercial and hospitality market, we wanted to create a strong, refined and elegant collection of pieces that could easily be translated into different environments.

The key elements include focusing closely on function, clarity, simplicity both in form and materials, and a sophisticated colour palette. Being an extremely versatile range, whereby modifications to components can be made, we can accommodate with any client custom requirements and transform our products across the 3 sectors, resulting in a versatile range.

What niche are you trying to fill? What do you think is missing from the Australian market at the moment?

SBW was created to provide Australian-made designs accessible to all in the market at an affordable price and most importantly a short lead time. We strive to provide exemplary, honest and dedicated customer service.

We work with fantastic manufactures and suppliers who understand and can produce a high quality product. Because of this, we have a complete and comprehensive understanding of what is involved in producing our products and this enables us the ability to customise our product to suit our clients’ projects.

Our range is slowly expanding with the addition of some exciting new pieces, which will make for a more comprehensive range. We also strive to support other Australian designers and as a result a locally made accessories line has also been introduced.

Have you considered moving overseas to work, or are you very much dedicated to working and manufacturing in Australia? What is important to you and Laelie about being Australian-based designers?

We are 100% dedicated to manufacturing here in Australia and supporting Australian design. There is a high demand for Australian-made furniture. Locally made products offer shorter delivery times and quality control is always easier to monitor. After-sales service is more reliable and more efficient when dealing with a product manufactured in Australia.

Australian companies put their reputation to not only providing the best furniture, but also the best service to the consumer. For the moment we are concentrating on the national Australian market. We would like to in the future promote and distribute our product internationally as we feel that Australian-made and designed product will be well received abroad.

How does SBW fit into your and Laelie’s solo stuff – are you still working on your own projects on the side?

SBW is a priority to both of us. We are both extremely focused and enthusiastic about our range and the industry we are targeting. We both have our roles within the business to help make it flourish.

Having now been in the industry for 9 years, I [Vincitorio] have established myself as a freelance designer and continue to work with Alessi on that basis. In addition, I run an eco homeware brand, Ruba. [Berzon] practices fine arts on a freelance basis. This allows us to continue to broaden our own knowledge base and bring what we learn back when developing new products.

SBW, or Something Beginning With, is available directly through the official website.


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