When you talk to Christian Cole his energy and passion for what he does is immediately apparent. It’s that energy, and a not inconsiderable dose of raw talent, that has propelled him from a 17-year-old apprentice to owner of one of Australia’s most respected furniture and architectural joinery businesses.
Catering for a clientele that demand high end, high quality finishes he describes his business as “still very handmade…. we don’t have a lot of the latest technology and machinery. There is something about hand-produced furniture that can’t be achieved by machine. In any case, I’d rather employ people”.
He and his team emphasise the significant amount of time they take to consider the boards that they hand select for any design to find the best placement for grain and colour. Each piece is created by the same maker, from beginning to end “That means each takes ownership of a piece. All the guys have a personal interest and are proud of the job. You get much better quality at the end that way” says Christian.
Whilst probably best known for his furniture, aided perhaps by the regular featuring of his work on Nine’s The Block, well over half of Christian Cole’s business is architectural joinery. He claims he likes to challenge himself. LYZ Property Group’s Lucia apartments in South Yarra, designed by Elenberg Fraser Architects included one such challenge. A 2.5 ton American white oak ceiling features in the lobby, installed over 8 weeks by Cole and his team. Christian persuaded the designers to consider American white oak given its superior stability. “I think it’s a species thing and also an American thing” he says “Americans dry their timber better. It’s really stable and doesn’t expand and contract much”.
Other projects have allowed Christian to combine his skills. The Ferrier Hodgson office in Melbourne is one such example. A Christian Cole reception desk is complemented by stools from the company’s furniture range.
Talking to Christian Cole, you get the impression that he is a man that finds it difficult to sit still. He’s currently building his own new house, with plans for further expansion of his architectural joinery business whilst continuing to produce high-end furniture for exacting Clients. Channeling his extraordinary energy into his extraordinary work.