Freelance writer living in and reviewing Melbourne's West.
Published August 1st 2011
When Jon Van Hulsen and Mary Long opened their shop Post Industrial Design in Richmond in the mid 90s, little did they realise the post-industrial furniture they created and sold would become very popular featuring in magazines like Vogue Living, House and Garden and television lifestyle shows.
They were just two people in their mid 20s with $3000 who decided to set up a business capitalising on Van Hulsen's skills as an industrial designer and sculptor.
"We were in the right place at the right time for that post-industrial furniture. People were starting to buy warehouses and turn them into living spaces," says Long.
The business specialised in selling big furniture and was very successful but after several years, the couple tired of the commitment of running the shop and retired their business. Van Hulsen wanted to concentrate on sculpture while Long began a Bachelor of Business.
They bought a house in West Footscray and built a studio out the back. Van Hulsen produced commissioned sculptures for clients from their former business as well for new clients.
The pair fell in love with their new home. Coupled with nostalgia for their former business and a desire to contribute to their community, they decided to open the shop again in the western suburbs. A space was found near the couple's home in West Footscray.
Earlier this year Post Industrial Design reopened. The space operates as a shop selling bespoke furniture and giftware with an emphasis on upcycled goods, and a gallery exhibiting artwork from local artists.
The space is beautiful and colourful with a wide range of handmade goods for all budgets. Van Hulsen's ornate and beautiful furniture sits alongside bags, clothing, toys, kitchen ware and jewellery made by local creatives. It is a good place to get something unique for the home or as a gift. Jumpers have been turned into stylish hot water bottles; booties made from recycled jeans; tables made from what look like old doors with heavy and ornate wrought iron feet. Dominating one side of the room, is a wrought iron bed, designed by Van Hulsen.
"It is our philosophy to support local initiative whether it is the actual stock or the wine for openings," says Long.
The gallery runs bi-monthly exhibitions and is booked out for the rest of the year. It is currently exhibiting as part of Victoria's State of Design Festival whose theme this year is design that moves. The gallery has focused on skateboarding.
Filmmaker Sarah Watts has contributed a series of photos of youths skateboarding that she has hand rendered with paint. While I was viewing Watts' artwork, she came into the gallery with her husband, the actor William McInnes.
Other artists participating in the exhibition are Katherine Rees, Jos Van Hulsen, Kial Menadue and Steven Leadbeater.