We’re putting a spotlight on a new player in the premium Australian timber flooring sector, Artimber, whose authentic product range and collaborative processes position them as a brand to know in 2023.
Prior to launching late last year, Melbourne-based company Artimber set out to properly understand the Australian design community and what they desire from premium timber flooring suppliers. Their findings: the Australian design community needs authentic, high-quality timber flooring, with greater collaboration with suppliers, a wider variety of wood species, and the option of more European-style geometric patterns. Eager to fill these gaps, they debuted their three collections, Emerging, Enhancing and Evolving, and were initiated into the premium Australian timber flooring sector.
We sat down with Artimber managing director Dylan Shao and sales manager Kate Williams to get to know the brand; how they started, their precise offering, and what exactly sets them apart.
Artimber collaborated with Embrace Architects, Adele Bates and Hive Properties on ‘The Gratis’, a boutique development located in Melbourne’s Deepdene, composed of 12 bespoke residences.
The Gratis features a considered material palette of parquetry flooring, natural stone and timber veneer. When paired with refined details, the project exudes a sense of calm luxury. Artimber flooring specifications: European Oak; Herringbone pattern; colours Haze (light) and Sculpt (mid colour).
Where did the Artimber story begin?
Dylan Shao: Artimber was founded on the principle of authentic, high-quality timber flooring for the Australian design community. We also firmly believed there needed to be more parquetry flooring options than just herringbone and chevron.
For many years, geometric flooring has been popular in Europe, but only a few have introduced it to Australia. We’re aware that this may be because it’s a niche market, but we still want to make it available to Australian architects and designers looking for a unique option.
The company’s initial name was Timber Art since we view designing and making our products as an artistic endeavour – including the quality control process. Then, our very talented independent brand designer, Marcus Piper, streamlined the name.
Talk us through your three collections; what does each offer and how do they differ? Dylan Shao: OurEmerging collection comprises colours designed to go with almost anything. It consists of light, warm, brown and dark tones.
Our Enhancing collection is made up of a spectrum of grey tones. We use several methods to coat the colours in this collection, including reactive stain, smoke and hand scrape, among others. Each colour is unique based on which method is used and which chemical is used to react with the tannin in the wood.
Our Evolving collection is our geometric flooring collection, not distinguished by colours but by patterns. Clients can choose their preferred pattern and look to the previous two collections for colour inspiration, with the option of customisation.
What themes or shifts are you currently observing within the architecture and design community with regard to timber flooring? How do you intend to meet these market demands?
Kate Williams: Architects and designers have expressed a desire for greater collaboration with suppliers, whereby they can tailor a product to suit their project requirements – whether that be a custom colour, board size or pattern.
They also go directly to the supplier to gather knowledge about a product, which assists them in presenting that product to their client. Clear points of difference that they can easily communicate are often a driving factor in choosing a product.
Collaboration and customisation are at the heart of our three collections, Emerging, Enhancing and Evolving. Assisting designers in turning their ideas into reality – that’s something we believe has no limits. Our highly skilled team are there to educate the designer and explore all possibilities with them, no matter how crazy they seem! We’re all about pushing the boundaries and delivering quality products that don’t just meet but exceed designer expectations.
Architects and designers are also interested in wood species other than oak. We have a range of Australian species, such as spotted gum and blackbutt. We also offer walnut for a darker, warmer colour option.
What was the inspiration behind your Richmond showroom?
Dylan Shao: The showroom was designed by Embrace Architects. The design concept emphasises the word Art without sacrificing simplicity. The first level serves as a function room where customers can learn more about our timber flooring options. Before making a purchase, customers can get a sense of what they want by examining a variety of graded flooring, bevelled edges and cores.
Could you please explain what a ‘birch mult-iply core’ is and how it makes Artimber flooring superior? Dylan Shao: The words ‘birch’ and ‘multi-ply’ need to be looked at separately to understand them fully.
Multi-ply engineered wood flooring is a cross-laminated structure. As the core material is boiled, steamed, and sliced, the wood is considered ‘dead’, so it doesn’t move as much as 3-ply. Then we use an eco-friendly adhesive and cold-press technique to glue the layers together and remove the risk of delamination. As a result, it can be used in most indoor environments without the worry of deformation.
Birch grows in cold regions with long hours of sun exposure and low water absorption all year round. Compared with other timber cores, it can accommodate various environmental conditions and does not get deformed. Birch typically comes in higher grades with fewer knots and features than other timbers, and its surface is flatter and smoother. It also naturally doesn’t corrode and can resist biological attacks more efficiently.
With The Gratis already under your belt, what new projects can we anticipate in 2023?
Kate Williams: Gratis marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship with Embrace Architects; expect to see more collaborations with them this year and in years to come.
We have also been working with Larritt-Evans on a project called Narissa, a minimal waste, low carbon footprint project expected to be completed early in the year. We are very passionate about sustainability, and we are thrilled to be involved in the project.