Full Circle

Ross Longmuir, who runs Planet Furniture, has been designing furniture since 1991 in the tradition of working with materials to develop a design aesthetic. A large part of the business's operation is a full custom design service, often working with other design professionals such as architects and interior designers to develop total projects. Ross realises that we are living in an environmentally aware and sustainable age, and desire a life, home and office without too much clutter and complexity - his furniture and home wares (such as metals, textiles and ceramics) reflect this modern desire for natural, eco-efficient simplicity and style.

Ross' grandfather was an upholsterer and his father was a furniture maker so he had a good background from which to develop his skills for wood and design, though Ross says he did not exactly learn technical skills from his family members, but spent time doing short courses, reading books, attending seminars to provide him with the training needed. Ross was excited by classic and intricate old furniture, intrigued by beautiful things and in his own time he designed and hand or machine made bits and pieces which he sold at fairs, shows and expos. Ross even had collections of his pieces in David Jones and Grace Bros. In the late 90s he became a designer and when the Sydney Olympics came around in 2000, Ross took advantage of the prospering market to promote his design skills.

Today his store, Planet, on Crown Street, Sydney, houses the work of approximately 70 Australian makers in ever medium you can think of. Ross sources all his timber locally, using Australian hardwoods which are traditionally not used for furniture as they are two or three times denser than other hardwoods, and hence are quite difficult to work. Yet Australian timbers are unique in the world for their strength and dramatic raw beauty and in a market where little furniture is made of solid timber, Planet Furniture is pioneering the use of Aussie hardwoods for highly finished furniture production. Environmental concerns are always considered, so rainforest and old growth timbers are never used and species are selected only if they are sustainably grown.

Planet has sold work to a spectrum of private collectors throughout the world and Australia, as well as major public collections such as The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney and the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art in Gifu, Japan. Planet has received a mass of press exposure in magazine and newspaper print, television and radio, both throughout Australia and internationally.

VJ Bradley Conomy