Walk The Plank

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Indonesian-based furniture designer Michael Perry from Walk the Plank has returned home with a fresh container load of furniture that will form the centerpiece of an exclusive show at Sydney’s China Heights Gallery. Titled ‘Casually Approaching Shore’, Perry’s debut collection has been inspired by the concept of casual furniture, which he has transformed into classic handcrafted pieces for everyday use.

While living in Central Java, Perry has stayed true to this environmentally ethical ethos. He works exclusively with reclaimed and responsibly sourced materials like un-seaworthy fishing vessels found along the coast of the Java Sea. These pieces are shaped, refined and crafted into pieces that have their own personality with their own story to tell.

If you’re in Sydney this weekend, head down to China Heights Gallery on Friday 2nd of September from 5pm for opening night – we’ll save you a sundowner.

We caught up with Michael Perry while he was in Sydney to get the low down on the collection and what life is like living in Central Java, Indonesia.

TIL: How did you end up living and making furniture in Central Java?

Michael: I’ve been working in the furniture industry a little over 10 years. I wanted to take it beyond working in retail, and I wanted more creative control so when I had the opportunity to base myself in Central Java I took the chance.

TIL: You work in a sustainable way – how important is it that you work with reclaimed and responsibly sourced materials?

Michael: For me this is one of the most important things. I think it just comes down to operating in a responsible way, having a responsible business model. It’s obvious that we need to take care of the environment.

TIL: What inspired the pieces in this collection?

Michael: The idea of casual furniture is that its well made and used every day inspires me a lot. Being able to make something that someone else enjoys and lives with every day is a cool concept.

TIL: How do you choose your materials?

Michael: I had an opportunity to purchase a few loads of wood salvaged from unseaworthy shipping vessels that are found or serviced along the Java Sea. You don’t have much choice when you do this because usually the old boats are a mixture of teak and 2 or 3 hardwoods. You just have to make the most what’s available. This also influences the end product, which really keeps things interesting.

TIL: Do you have a favourite piece of furniture to design?

Michael: I’m really into occasional items like side tables, chairs and stools. I love the idea that one item can be used in any room for any occasion and just having a great mixture of items in your home whether it be high design or a junkyard revamp.

TIL: Are there any specific design trends coming out of Indonesia?

Michael: I kind of hide from trends. There’s been a lot of development in bamboo furniture items. The other one would be the use of reclaimed materials and natural finishes.

TIL: How have you furnished your home in Java?

Michael: It’s kind of basic at the moment. I just have a bunch of prototypes of items I’m working on so it always changes.

TIL: Do you wear sarongs instead of pants?

Michael: Sometimes… a sarong inside the house is cool.

TIL: What do you do when you’re not designing and making furniture?

Michael: Generally I’m just cruising poolside or at the beach. I’ll also hit the road and chase waves through Central and West Java if I get the time. It’s amazing! No crowds and some amazing waves!

TIL: What’s your favourite spot for a summer vacay?

Michael: That’s a hard one. Sydney summers are the best. I’d love to get to Mexico and Central America, but at the moment I’m loving a quick break to Bali to hang out with friends and see what’s happening in the real world. Stay in a nice villa, get some waves and chill out.


As the founder of THIS ISLAND LIFE, Laura is an expert on all things summer. When she's not at home in Sydney, she's chasing the warm-weather to exotic destinations across the globe.

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