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Bec Dowie of Douglas and Bec discusses their new range ‘Arch’

Article by Home Magazine

Bec Dowie reflects on a new range and a decade of design with her father Douglas Snelling in their expanding business

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Bec Dowie of Douglas and Bec discusses their new range ‘Arch’

“I never set out to be a designer as such,” says Bec Dowie, one half of father-daughter business Douglas & Bec. “I just loved making beautiful things with my father.” Ten years on – “We strive for excellence, but we still have a lot to achieve” – Dowie and Snelling have released a new range, ‘Arch’, which draws on the curvilinear shapes of the 1920s and 1930s.

There’s a personal history in the collection, with references to your grandparents and great aunt. How did that transpire?
There’s always a personal narrative in my work. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by art and beauty. It wasn’t necessarily luxurious, since we lived on a modest farm, but there was understated style – and everything had a functional purpose.

Why did that period appeal?
My family had furniture of this era; it evokes romance and femininity.

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It’s distinctly modern – how did you keep it contemporary?
Playfulness and modern tactility are always evident in my work and articulated in the shapes and materials that lend a contemporary aesthetic.

You took time over this collection.
The design process has become slower, which brings a depth of thought and strong conceptual grounds. There’s a lot of research, critique and resolution to it. Contrary to our nostalgic tip-of-the-hat, this collection uses CNC, rapid prototyping and LED systems, as well as traditional techniques of steam bending, cane work and wood turning.

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Tell us about your new Melbourne store.
Australia is an expanding market for us – we opened there in 2014. To give the new showroom the sincerity of Douglas & Bec, we worked with interior architect Rufus Knight, who we’ve collaborated with on projects over the years. He knows exactly what I’m trying to achieve with brand identity.

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