Fine Finish

David Emery started out designing and making furniture to meet his personal needs, but the positive response he received for his beautifully sculpted pieces soon saw orders coming through thick and fast – he even made the furniture for the Speaker’s office in Parliament House, Canberra. Now, David Emery Furniture Design is well known for its high quality and original, Australian-made contemporary furniture. He talks to Selina Gordevich about his influences, craft and spending his days sanding!

Three words to describe David Emery Furniture Design?
Totally Australian made.

Tell us about David Emery Furniture Design.
I’m influenced by Bauhaus, Art Deco, Japanese and contemporary design. Furniture with complex angular shapes and crafted timber veneers are my speciality – the warmth of timber is almost always contrasted and accentuated by other materials, including metals, glass, stone, leather and composites. I use a combination of traditional techniques and contemporary design knowledge, so the flexibility to provide highly customised and unique furniture options is endless. At the end of the day, the focus is always on the client.

What inspires your designs?
Sometimes, out of the process of problem solving for others, a fresh way of seeing something appears. Through this process I have developed what I now call the Studio Collection – a range of dining and cabinet pieces made on a small-scale production basis.

Describe your average working day to us.
There’s a lot of sanding to be done.

Is there a project you’re particularly proud of?
The Parliament House project in Canberra; I made the furniture in the Speaker’s office area. Although it took a bit of a beating in the press at the time, for me the experience of working with a design team absolutely committed to achieving the best result possible was inspiring. The fact that they gave me the freedom to design the furniture going into their building was humbling. What projects are you currently excited about? In the workshop, we’re just putting the finishing touches to the altar and other sanctuary furniture for the restored St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth. Dan Flynn from Flynn Silver, who also did much of the work, designed the pieces. I’ve worked with Dan for many years, and it’s always challenging and rewarding.

Greatest success to date?
Still being here.

Greatest challenge?
Finding a place in a market dominated by large retailers promoting imported products. I’ve been fortunate to find Image Interiors in Richmond, who are carrying my Studio Collection along with the work of several other local makers.

What trends are you seeing in furniture?
There’s a new awareness of the sustainability of furniture that’s not been evident before. We’re seeing a propensity towards more ephemeral pieces from low-impact materials, or higher quality, longer-lasting pieces – I hope for the latter.

For more information on David Emery Furniture Design, call (03) 5422 3026 or visit

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