Today we’re excited to be launching and introducing to our showroom a new release from furniture brand, making radical design waves in the industry, Steelotto! Steelotto is a Melbourne based brand, producing a unique collection of design objects. Under the creative direction of EFFOE Design Office, Steelotto attempts to bridge the gap between industry and artist. Steelotto strives to diversify Australian design by offering unique aesthetics that embrace radical design movements. Using steel as its defining material, Steelotto takes advantage of the quality of Australian steel and the value of local manufacturing. The name ‘Steelotto’ is derived from two words, ‘Steel’ and ‘Otto’ (Eight). Historically the number eight represents a ‘new beginning’ or ‘new order’.
We take the opportunity to chat with Steelotto’s creators, Alexander Cummins and Remy Cerritelli about this striking collection of furniture, major design influences, and how they’ve managed to bridge a gap between industry and art. This is an interview you won’t want to miss!
Thank you so much for chatting with us today, we’re thrilled! Can you tell us a little about how Steelotto came about and began?
The brand itself consists of myself; Alexander Cummins and partner Remy Cerritelli. After working together for a few years in the industry we decided to create a brand based around local manufacturing and to use steel as our defining material. Steel has had a pretty tough time for awhile now and doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
The branding really is quite exciting with its strong aesthetics, upside down text, collage, and references to Australian humour – is this something that was important to you when beginning?
We always knew that we wanted the brand to be unapologetically ‘Australian’ we were lucky enough to work with Confetti Studio in the brand’s infancy to establish just how unapologetic we could be.
Did the brand strategy, or furniture design come first? And have the two influenced each other?
As the orientation of the logo suggests we started in the opposite direction to most conventional brands opting to design the brand itself first before we had any products. This has lead to a very curated and concise collection with a very strict ethos.
What are the major influences that have inspired this series?
The material itself lead the initial design enquiry and has been an ongoing influence. Without starting a debate on form and what follows what this series was heavily grounded by ‘form follows manufacture’.
What do you think your unique edge to design is?
We are not designer makers, which in the current climate is quite unique in itself. This has afforded us the ability to design outside our own constraints and engage with specific fabricators for specific work.
Were there major challenges in creating these pieces? What were they and how have you overcome them?
Designing for manufacture is always a challenge and even more of a challenge when manufacturing locally as price point and quality are critically connected. We are constantly improving the way we produce our pieces and we cannot see this changing anytime soon.
Did you set out to create furniture that was adaptable to both outdoor and indoor living? How did this concept come about to blur the lines between the two?
This is possibly a subconscious link to our love for the Emeco Navy chair and all the unusual settings it can be found. We have always liked the contrast of having outdoor furniture inside, commercial furniture in residential settings and the tension this can create. Steel has the flexibility for both and to be taken seriously, we simply didn’t have a choice not to offer both.
Are the pieces customisable in finishes and coats?
We have introduced a standard offering of finishes and coats which we will be expanding soon!
Is colour important in the work you produce?
Colour is too important which is why we are always very cautious in using it. People can easily connect with colour before they connect with form which as designers is a frightening thought.
What is your favourite piece you’ve designed?
We are even more cautious when it comes to having favourites.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between industry and art, what’s next for Steelotto?
We still don’t feel we have successfully achieved that… the next step for us is to collaborate with other designers and artists to keep building the brand (and bridges).
Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your exciting range and products!
The new Steelotto pieces are now available online and in our Fitzroy showroom, with an exciting window feature for a limited time! Pop-in to view the new pieces!
Modern Times Gallery
311 Smith St,
Fitzroy VIC 3065