Founded in 2008 by directors Colin Kupke and Shane Sinnott, Cosh Living has always been known for representing the world’s leading outdoor furniture brands. Today these include Tribu, Dedon, Gloster and Manutti.
“In 2016, Shane and I decided that in order to grow our business further, we needed to incorporate indoor furniture into our offering,” says Colin. “To do this we started our own brand, named Kett, and engaged Australian designer Justin Hutchinson to lead a team based at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. We then began the process of designing furniture with an Australian soul but with a style and quality that would allow it to sit alongside our prestigious outdoor brands and enhance the overall experience. Kett has been an overwhelming success. Today it’s our equal highest-selling brand, and along with supporting indoor products from renowned Italian brand Potocco, indoor furniture is now an important part of the overall Cosh Living DNA.”
Last year, the team at Cosh Living’s Melbourne showroom packed their bags and moved to a new location on Church Street in Richmond. “Church street speaks for itself in being a great location for high-end furniture, and 600 Church Street is certainly an empowering new building designed by Wood Marsh Architecture,” says Colin. “Level 6 has 270° views over Melbourne, including the MCG and CBD skyline to the west and sweeping views over the north and east. We have also furnished the rooftop garden and have access to it for special occasions and client engagement.
“While being situated on a busy shopping strip like Church Street, we still wanted to be more of a destination-type store,” continues Colin. “It means our visitors are more authentic — not so many passers-by. And we wanted to make a visit to our showroom feel like no other — a special occasion that can be enjoyed and one which would encourage people to come back. We want our A&D customers to bring their clients into the showroom and feel comfortable with the refined, discreet and luxurious surroundings.”
The design brief for the new digs included encapsulating the amazing views, incorporating Cosh’s much-used phrase “inside looking out”. This was to allow indoor and outdoor furniture to be separated, but with a seamless transition, and to provide an overall shopping experience that feels exclusive but in a warm and welcoming environment, where customers will linger and want to return.
“When setting pen to paper for the design of the new showroom, it was clear from the start that the building needed to be more than a showroom — it needed to be a home,” shares designer Justin Hutchinson. “The question then was what makes a home? What separates a house from a home is family.” Justin says the fact that it’s a family business informs the ebb and flow of every day at Cosh, keeping the focus on building dependability, consistency and trust. Through this lens, a natural relationship formed between businesses that share the same focus — the pursuit of providing exceptional products and services to homes across Australia.
“Furniture forms the backdrop for families and friends to come together and share their insights on some hidden corner of this amazing country — perhaps the great food they have eaten in a tucked-away cafe, or the successes or defeats of their favourite sporting team,” reflects Justin. “This space needed to be warm in tone and soft in its structure, and ultimately provide a sense of exclusivity in the way our homes reflect both our public and private lives.”
On beginning the design process, the team was gifted incredible views across Melbourne: to the east the Dandenong Ranges, to the north the view up along Church Street and then the setting sun across the west to the MCG. “The view could have been overpowering if it wasn’t broken up and framed by the rooms that allow each space to capture a moment of Melbourne — very much allowing us to draw inspiration from our theme of ‘Inside Looking Out’,” explains Justin. “On arrival on level 6, we wanted a sense of entrance, a welcoming. The reception was set to one side, allowing a more relaxed approach on entry. Expressed in solid timber oak and porcelain — two timeless materials that age gracefully — the reception desk was crafted by the skilled hands of our good friend and furniture maker, John Beckwith.
“In many homes the kitchen is the heart and soul. For this reason, we wanted the kitchen to form a central place where people could meet and spend quality time together,” continues Justin. This led to the collaboration between Cosh and Cantilever Interiors on a new kitchen called EDIT. “This is where the hallmark signatures of Kett fuse into the DNA of a Cantilever kitchen through the various touch points: the solid timber table, handles and drawers.
“When it came to lighting, there was no better fit than Rakumba, whose work we had admired for some time,” reveals Justin. “A team devoted to its mantra, ‘Making Beauty’, Rakumba has been creating decorative lighting for more than 50 years with a signature aesthetic of contemporary elegance. The lighting provides another layer to share, and it is in the showroom that the marriage between the quality of the furniture and lighting is evident.
“In setting out to build a new home for Cosh, the greatest challenges were in the detail, the intersection of different materials, colours, profiles, and maintaining something coherent so that it is invisible and provides a sense of calm. A home needs to be a place of respite as well as engagement,” muses Justin. “Overall, I feel we achieved our goal to provide a beautiful space where indoor and outdoor furniture relate seamlessly. The colours and tones are balanced and refined. Each aspect of the showroom as you journey through it offers a different hue and texture, the rooms defined by our distinct colour schemes that are in response to the Australian landscape: ocean, mountain, desert and city. The showroom as a home allows you to spend time, exploring through the layers from the macro to the micro.”
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