With the release of Country Road’s new homewares range just around the corner, we spoke to their Head of Design, Bruce Summers to discover the muse behind his latest collection.
How long have you been at Country Road?
I have been with Country Road for almost a year and a half. My first collection launched in January this year.
Tell us about this collection and what inspired it?
The biggest influence for the new collection is the Australian way of life. It was really important for the products in the collection to be beautiful but also have a casual ease to them. Australians are stylish but we have an ease about the way we dress and live so I wanted this to be reflected. We’ve shown this through simple textures, patterns and versatile pieces that make it easy for a space to feel effortlessly stylish.
The colour of our environment also inspired our collection with the way natural materials and native flora take on colour and change seasonally. Eucalyptus leaves are a huge influence, starting in autumn and growing in importance in our summer collections. As a sneak peek later in the year, we have some incredibly beautiful silver-green tones taken from Eucalyptus leaves.
What’s your process in finding new inspiration when designing a homewares range?
It’s really evolved over the past year - from looking internationally for inspiration to now turning to our own backyard. Elements and influences that are unique to Australia have really impacted our design cues and inspiration. Our process now starts with me providing the team with a rough direction related to Australian lifestyle and seasonality, we then identify key lifestyle trends and from there we start designing.
How does that inspiration evolve into products?
Once we refine everyone’s ideas, they form the base for our design direction. Colour flow is created whilst sketching concepts and identifying fabrication techniques. We work very collaboratively to ensure there is cohesion in colour, form and material so the products can share a common visual story, as well as each being individually interesting.
When we receive prototypes it’s one of the most exciting parts of the process - the team often make jokes about how excitedly I tear open the boxes to reveal what’s inside (I am not actually supposed to open any boxes but I sometimes can’t help myself). The design is then refined and reworked until we get a result that we feel meets the Country Road aesthetic.
Do you have a favourite piece?
That is kind of like asking a parent if they have a favourite child, so I actually don’t have a single favourite piece. Every piece in the range has great features or elements. For the table our Flynn range is amazing, for decorating the Kub range is beautifully structural and versatile and there are so many great quilt covers for the bedroom. I really can’t choose.
Do you see this range evolving further for next season or is something new on the cards?
Our range will evolve next season but you will still see a common theme of using natural materials and finishes. In fact, we have some very exciting plans for our next season on how we will approach gathering inspiration but I can’t give too much away at this stage.
The new range will be available online from April.