Published: April 28, 2016

A LEADING Australian collective is looking beyond art to establish  a successful design and furniture business.

Adelaide’s JamFactory has enlisted the help of some of Australia’s most respected designers and is on the cusp of launching a commercial furniture range.

Located in the heart of Adelaide's West End Arts Precinct, the iconic institution is also investing in partnerships with local companies to create manufacturing jobs in South Australia to bolster the economy.

The arts collective began in 1973 and has forged a unique niche in the market through excellence in design and quality craftsmanship.

Renowned as a training centre for emerging commercial artists across the four pillars of glass, ceramics, metal and furniture, the JamFactory launched a collection of homeware products in 2013, which are sold at JamFactory outlets and through wholesalers nationally.

JamFactory CEO Brian Parkes said the furniture range, to be officially launched in June, would follow the model used to establish the product range.

 “Like the product collection it’s about generating new streams of revenue that allow us to increase resources in the studios, buy new equipment – all the things we haven’t been able to do for a long time - which helps us attract better people,” Parkes said.

“In a South Australian context we’re also brokering partnerships with manufacturers, creating new markets and new employment at a time when it’s fairly critical for the local economy.

“It’s at a price point where we can make locally manufacturing viable.”

Domestic goods and homewares have undergone major changes in line with higher consumer expectations around design and function in recent years. 

Increasingly this market sector is investing heavily in the resources required to generate design quality that is unique and contemporary while also generating wider market interest.

Parkes said the not-for-profit organisation had invested in leading designers Jon Goulder, Daniel Emma, Adam Goodrum and Henry Wilson - all of whom are previous winners of the prestigious Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award.

“We understand that commercial furniture specifies market space so we wanted to work with some really good designers who understand that space and also might provide valuable insight and design skill and some kind of leadership and example for our training associates,” he said.

“We’re primarily competing with high quality expensive European imports and we’ll have a 12-week lead time which is shorter than the lead times of bringing stuff from Europe so that’s a competitive advantage, we’ll be able to promote the fact that it’s made in South Australia and designed locally.”

The launch collection will include about a dozen items featuring dining tables, dining chairs, occasional chair, stackable stool, feature lights, shelving unit, set of coffee tables and credenza unit. All are customizable and will be available in a limited range of finishes.

"The JamFactory is creating a valuable market for consumers that appreciate and place a value on quality design," said Dominic Pangallo of Invest Adelaide, "but more importantly it is building commercial investment opportunities for the manufacturing of designer furniture that goes beyond bespoke offerings."

Parkes said most of the furniture purchasing decisions for major new building projects were usually made by the architects, prompting the JamFactory to schedule the soft launch of its furniture range to coincide with the National Architecture Conference, in Adelaide from April 28-30.

“We’ll have the target market from around the country and some internationals here in Adelaide for a few days and we’d like as many of them as possible to see the collection and understand its context,” he said.

The official launch of the furniture range will be in the first week of June at DEN Fair in Melbourne.