IN THE SAC founder, Belle sits down with Leah Merlino, the Creative Director of namesake Furniture and Design mecca, Merlino Furniture.Drawing inspiration from their Italian heritage and an annual pilgrimage to Milan's furniture fair, the team at Merlino Furniture stays ahead of the curve, curating an extensive range of authentic and high-end pieces from Europe's finest brands.
In this exclusive Q&A, Belle delves into Merlino's passion and dedication to authenticity, sophistication, passion, luxury, and quality.
Tell us how and when Merlino Furniture started?
Starting in a garage, with our family name, Merlino Furniture began in 1980. Director, Ross Merlino started this business by importing Marcel Breuer chairs into the Perth marketplace. After a few years of trading, he found there was a lack of fine quality furniture in the market and slowly expanded the range where he moved to his first warehouse. Now we have a 66,000 sq feet showroom where we work alongside him, Leah being the Creative Director and Lara being the Interior Design Specialist.
Where do you and the team draw your inspiration from when launching new ranges?
We showcase an extensive range of authentic and high-end furniture from Europe's finest brands. Our range inspiration is rooted from our Italian heritage [and] we travel to Milan every year for the furniture fair. Exclusive luxury brands exhibit there with on-trend exhibitions, where we gain design direction for the year to come.
With global conversations around climate change, and sustainability becoming such a huge focus, what changes have you seen in the way your customers purchase design pieces?
Here at Merlino, we recognise that sustainability is about making furniture that lasts for several generations, in terms of both style and durability.
We work with natural leather materials for our Saporini Sofa range, which makes each piece of furniture unique. Out of respect for the material and concern for the environment, we use the gentlest surface treatment methods possible which is a key buying concern for customers.
We are seeing more customers also purchase life long products with classic designs rather then on-trend pieces, and customers are buying less but are willing to invest extra into a key item if they know it will last.
What is the your favourite piece in your most recent range?
Both of us are lovers of the Italian brand Bonaldo, we love the Olos Lounge Chair and Dorian Side Table in Bronze.
If you could describe Merlino Furniture in five words what would they be?
Authentic, sophisticated, passionate, luxurious, and quality.
What is the latest trend you saw in Milan 2023?
Boucle is here to stay! And curves, lots of curves!