We first discovered Nicole Lawrence Studio during one of our Instagram scrolling adventures, and boy, did this furniture stop us in our tracks. We adored the soft, voluptuous lines of the designs, contrasted with the vibrant colours and utilitarian steel. This unique, affordable Australian-made furniture jumped to the top of Gingerfinch staff's wish lists - both for our homes and GF HQ.
Nicole Lawrence launched her current range of Smooth Shelves, Smooth Tables and Pillar shelves in 2020. Since then, her work has caught the attention of stylists and design-lovers throughout Australia and beyond. We are so excited to bring Nicole Lawrence Studio furniture to the Gingerfinch community!
To get to know the woman behind these incredible designs, Nicole took us on a virtual tour her colourful, art-filled Brunswick home that she shares with her partner, Basil and her puppy, Tig. Enjoy!
Nicole in her Melbourne studio next to un-coated 3 Tier Tabletop Shelves
What made you decide to be a designer? Why metal?
I have always been curious about how and why things are made or created. From food to lighting and even how the body works or creates emotions. I am deeply fascinated with learning about processes. I also have the personality type that likes to see and feel the results of my work, so I guess working with objects provides that tangible evidence of a day's effort.
I started by studying Gold & Silversmithing, but a condition with my joints meant that working on such a small scale caused pain in my hands and I had to stop. I then got a production job making lights for Christopher Boots and stayed working there for 6 years, moving from production to the design team. Alongside this, I studied Industrial Design.
I decided to become a designer because I had big ideas of things I wanted to make and I thought, why not share them with the world.
"The Smooth Shelf Large in Clay is a form of storage in my kitchen for all the things I use regularly and want in an easy-to-reach place. I love the fact that this shelf is both functional and totally unique compared to the usual offerings for kitchen furniture."
I chose metal for this collection as I really enjoy welding and the processes around working with metal, so that informed the designs I was coming up with.
I also think that it's fantastic that powder-coated metal is able to be sandblasted and resurfaced down the track should a client want to change the colour or refurbish a piece in years to come. This means that a Nicole Lawrence Studio piece can be theirs for life without losing its value. Metal is also very strong and durable so the pieces are built to last!
"The Pillar Shelf in my kitchen is the Large size in Sea Green, this holds all my heavy cookbooks with ease. The artwork is by my partner, Basil Papoutsidis."
Colour is such an important part of your design practice. Tell us why and how you selected the incredible palette for your current range.
It's quite simple really, these are the colours that I love, especially blue (my favourite colour). I wanted to offer these colours as I felt they were missing from the offerings of furniture in Australia and wanted to invite them into my client's homes.
We adore Nicole's colourful pieces, and though it's so hard to choose, the Clay Orange has our Number 1 vote!
Do you use much colour in your own home?
Yes, always! My house has become a museum archive of my prototypes which are always colourful and the artwork in our home is full of colour as well. I am currently also obsessing over my new Suku Home bedsheets that brighten up my bedroom too!
Left: "My bedroom, with Suku Home bedsheets, a Smooth Table in Clay, and Table Lamp #1 in Dark Navy."
Right: "My Tasmanian Blackwood dining table, made by my brother-in-law, and a bright orange pendant that I made. This is where I share meals with my partner, Basil. The orange light adds a warm glow every night. The artwork is by Julian Hocking."
What's your favourite way to use your Tabletop Shelves?
As I originally designed this piece for my own home as a spice rack that will always be my favourite use for it, however, I have noticed a lot of people use it to display their special jewellery pieces, perfumes, and objects and I like the idea of this as a memorial piece to their treasured objects.
What's next for Nicole Lawrence Studio? Any new products in the works?
We have been expanding and I have been getting some new people on board to help me which has been so great! Yes, we have some new pieces on the horizon - a Smooth Floating Shelf is on the way, A new series of lighting with hand-blown glass, and another set of tables that I am working on for an exhibition in October!
You can follow Nicole's design journey on Instagram at @nicolelawrence____/
Portraits by Ed Gorwell
All images by Nicole Lawrence unless otherwise credited.