Standing the Test of Time

Moran Furniture

No other name in furniture design and manufacture speaks to quality and traditional crafting practices as does Moran, Australia’s premier provider of high quality, hand-crafted furniture.

Designed to represent the utmost level of quality and style, Moran Furniture has provided homes in Australia and beyond with timeless, heirloom quality pieces for more than three generations.

Though the company has grown to become well-known throughout Australia and beyond, it began as a simple project by John Moran in his parents’ garage. From the beginning, John’s focus was to create high quality, handcrafted furniture representing style, luxury and comfort. His furniture was handcrafted using traditional techniques and high quality textiles and leathers.

Moran Furniture Senior Designer Renée Harvey reflects on John’s design ethos and the lasting effect he has had on the company he founded many years ago. “He wanted to bring added value to the customer by sourcing exclusive fabrics and leathers and, though I didn’t have the fortune to know him myself, many of the people who work here today knew him well and were taught the techniques by him.”

Indeed, throughout the industry, many have been forever touched by John and inspired by his passion for Australian design.

The company’s head offices and primary factory are based in Melbourne though, before his passing, John developed international capabilities in Shanghai as he foresaw the importance of creating an international framework to support the sourcing of popular and exotic fabrics and leathers to allow for commercial production of the company’s products. Through the company’s Shanghai factory, Moran Furniture is able to meet the production needs of high volume customers in the commercial sector, recently designing luxury theatre seating for clients in Dubai. “Not only do we focus on custom orders, but we can also do very large manufacturing without compromising our day to day production.”

As senior designer, Renée Harvey is responsible for the design and development of each new furniture design the company produces. Her role extends even further than that however, as Renée remains involved in the marketing of the Moran brand as well as in the building of new and exciting relationships across the marketplace. She is excited about the company’s work developing product ranges for specific high-end retail clients. “We have important relationships with major department stores, such as David Jones and Myer, Harvey Norman, and just recently developed a range of high quality bed heads with Sleepys,” she explains.

In the last year, a major development arose in the form of a new relationship as Florence Broadhurst has been licensed to Moran by Signature Design Archive, the holder of the commercial rights for Florence Broadhurst. This relationship signals an exciting foray into eclectic contemporary design for the company. “She’s another legend in design in Australia and has probably received the most international coverage in the last few years in terms of Australian designers,” says Renée.

Florence Broadhurst is best known for her colourful, flamboyant wallpaper designs. The recent adaptation of the wallpaper patterns for use with textiles has created vibrant pieces of furniture and brought Moran design to a whole new generation that not only expects quality and comfort but excitement as well. The partnership represents a move forward for the company, signalling a renewed interest in exciting and youthful patterns which Renée expects will introduce many new customers to the Moran brand.

The Moran brand has been very well known and respected for three generations in Australia, though perhaps less well known among those under the age of thirty. Florence Broadhurst is a great vehicle to reintroduce the company’s designs as being relevant to a new range of customers, bringing it back into the forefront of design and showing that the company is relevant in a more modern style as well. “We’ve been doing a lot of new work and being a little bit more flamboyant with our designs,” Renée says. “Actually, Mid-Century modern style has always been a core design style in Moran’s range. We have a number of these designs in our back catalogue but our more traditional styled models have always seemed to grab the limelight. Now we have the opportunity to combine pared-down high end designs with wild and whimsical Florence Broadhurst patterned covers. It’s an ideal match.”

Moran has also released Florence Broadhurst fabric hangers with pattern and colour options printed on selected basecloths. These are all sublimated or screen printed to order. “Usually this kind of bespoke printing is reserved for the decorator market but we have found a way to adapt custom printing to work in a retail environment. It’s the closest thing to being your own decorator.”

The concept of revitalising Moran design to include not only traditional design, but also to introduce exciting new ideas has become a core focus for Renée and Moran Furniture moving forward. “We’re developing a lot of interesting new products as well as keeping the brand alive in the traditional sense,” she explains. The company has thrived by implementing a unique model of business from the beginning – focusing on building genuine relationships of understanding with clients and working to develop handcrafted, custom made furniture of heirloom quality.

The company works with retail clients to offer exclusively tailored ranges to meet each client’s specific needs. “We do as much research as possible first on trends to decide how best to present our product for the next launch. Each retailer has a unique customer base so it’s important to tailor the ranges individually. Often fashion is our best indicator of how to style our furniture; the leading fabric houses are also very good at pin-pointing future trends. I absolutely love looking through fabrics pre-release. Selecting from fabrics at such an early stage helps us to showcase fabrics that no one else has seen. We always look to present complete ranges that work as a holistic concept that flow together as a story on the floor rather than one off designs. Once on the floor, however, there is an almost endless selection of other fabric choices from the best fabric houses on hand for the general public to customise the look. While some limitations apply when customising at a retail level, we offer as much variety as possible.”

Customers also have the option of working with their own designer who can talk directly to the Moran contract team to customise the perfect piece to suit their lifestyle.

Renée is proud of the strength of the company’s business model and its reputation as being one of Australia’s premier furniture houses. “There’s not a lot of Australian manufacturers left, and we’re keen to keep local manufacturing alive,” she shares. Indeed, Moran is probably one of the few Australian manufacturers that still values quality product over speed of production, employing traditional trained artisans. The company’s legendary level of comfort and quality of construction cannot be achieved by taking shortcuts; each Moran sofa and chair is individually made to order using only the finest materials and best practice craftsmanship that most manufacturers have replaced with automated mass production techniques that often fall short on body correct comfort and longevity.

In the commercial space, the company works to build lasting partnerships with designers to provide its high quality products tailored to the customers’ needs. The contract market, being very specific, can range from a one-off design project for a retail environment to the furnishing of many hundreds of hotel rooms internationally. “With the dual manufacturing facility, we have the capability to do large orders to meet tight deadlines on those projects while not interrupting the normal flow of hand craftsmanship that we do on a customer basis.”

In the retail space, Moran has defined its range of more than two hundred designs across a number of collections, clarifying its diverse offering of products for the market place. “This organisation makes it easier to manage and to understand what you get in terms of choice and value for money on a retail level,” explains Renee.

The company’s flagship line of furniture, The Signature Collection, represents the premium range of furniture designs with superior handcrafted workmanship, exclusive luxury and design and the best fabrics and leathers available on the market. When purchasing a piece from The Signature Collection, a customer is making an investment in a traditionally styled, heirloom quality piece of furniture. “They are all signed by hand. The finishing details are done beautifully, with premium leathers and fabrics. They are the crème de la crème.”

Moran is probably best known for its Classics Collection, offering handcrafted luxury by in-house artisans to build each piece of furniture. This product line features classic styling in both traditional and modern designs intended for everyday use in Australia’s homes and represents the highest production volume of Moran’s furniture lines.

The company has also recently added a new level of product into its range. Moran Everyday Comfort, or EDC, is a new classification for a range of timeless, simplified designs. “The new line has been designed to be stylish and is still made to order,” says Renee. “But we’ve looked at efficiency in the development process to bring added value to the price conscious consumer in order to appeal to a broader community base with the intention of offering more people the opportunity to experience and enjoy the quality of Moran furniture.”

Moving forward, Renee is excited about what the future holds for the company as it continues to build relationships across the design community and new partnerships with more high-end retail providers. “We will continue to collaborate with Sleepys and venture into new markets with Florence Broadhurst, which has opened up a huge door to us with people who are interested in high-end manufacturing and bringing beautiful product to the market place”

Fans of the company’s design can also expect continued growth internationally as it continues to build new relationships across the international marketplace. “We’re looking further afield to see how we may be able to have a presence on a global scale as well, which invariably helps us locally to support the business.”

John’s decision to develop international manufacturing facilities essentially pre-empted a scramble to have dual manufacturing capabilities. The company’s dual production capabilities have also allowed the continued growth in the large volume commercial sector. Moran furniture has once again proved itself to be a vital practitioner of Australian design and one that has remained relevant for generations.

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December 19, 2018, 5:33 PM AEDT