Meet the Showroom: The Specified
Vange Markou founded The Specified with the aim of bringing Australian brands to a global audience, with rugs from Armadillo, hardware from Barbera and lighting from Articolo, among others. With Australian design surfing a wave of popularity, beloved for what Markou describes as “material authenticity, tactile qualities and a resonant mark of the maker,” the showroom in Design Centre East is finding new audiences all the time. Discover the showroom for yourself, which has an interior that echoes the calm, warmth and tactility of the products on show, and read on for Markou’s take on Australian style and what The Specified can do for designers.
What brought The Specified to Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour?
It’s such a destination for designers in London, and an integral part of the design discourse. Being a small part of that community is really important for us. We also know how time-poor designers often are, so the sheer expanse of the showrooms allows designers to really efficiently review many products at one address.
What should people expect from the showroom?
There’s a certain ambience that defines Australian style, an effortless luxury that we definitely emulate in the showroom. Australian design has its touchstones in material authenticity, both quiet and bold hues that are often found in nature, tactile qualities and a resonant mark of the maker, all tempered by clean spatial compositions. The showroom is a great example of this balance, celebrating that aesthetic’s capacity to transcend both time and trend, and to hit that covetable notion of modernity, while remaining a calm and welcoming space.
Why should customers visit in person as opposed to looking/buying online?
Online platforms are a great interface, but what the digital world will never do is conjure the same sensorial engagement that happens when you physically experience design objects and art in real life. In the showroom, designers and their clients can come in and immerse themselves in the sensorial qualities of the pieces we carry, touching them, admiring their details and gauging scale.
What’s your brand’s design philosophy?
Our philosophy is centred around unifying the best in Australian design in a singular space, bringing the Antipodean aesthetic into the global discourse by emphasising its accord with so many different interior styles, scopes and scales. The Specified is also a space where we can help designers and makers bring their design concepts to life by providing a vital industry touchpoint.
Is there a ‘hero’ product that you feel sums up your brand, or that’s been a long-standing bestseller?
That’s a very difficult question. Having seen Articolo grow from its first ‘Lumi’ table lamp to what it is today has been a real delight to experience and now represent. Articolo’s Nicci Green is a friend and such a source of inspiration for me, as are so many of the people behind each brand. Their personal journeys have coaxed incredible artistry: these brands are built by so much passion, talent and craft!
Are there broad design trends that you or the brands you represent are embracing?
We are dedicated to representing brands that demonstrate approaches and methodologies that work towards better design for a better tomorrow. Each designer, each project presents a unique opportunity for us, so it’s very important that the integrity of each product meets the requirements of a project not only from a design perspective but also from a holistically sustainable one.
Is there anything else you’d like the Design Centre’s community to know about your brand?
We proudly herald the best in Australian design, intertwined with over 20 years of interior design experience, which informs a rich, relevant and highly attuned depth of knowledge. Being able to assist designers with their concepts through different lenses is what makes us really unique, because we are able to recommend pieces for both their aesthetic and technical value.
Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is an inspiring and educational place to be a part of, and we are thrilled to be able to realise a physical design destination for our brands, from which we hope to build new friendships while always nurturing the long-standing ones.