Materialised 1980 Kent Street

Our first decade was exciting and amazing in so many ways. We lived from miracle to miracle!

Coming from having created a furnishing division for the highly respected John Kaldor Fashion label, we sought to make a difference by doing things differently in the Australian furnishing textile industry. Different we were!

With great enthusiasm and limited capital, printed product was the obvious route.
Our earliest offering was very different. Different in style but also different in that each of the Designs in the collection had coordinated accessories. Beyond our initial collection of fabrics by the metre, we offered homeware accessories such as embellished towels, bath robes, tableware, kids bedding and even umbrellas!

We thought it was somewhat of a coup to set up in the former premises of the then leading textile house, Arthur G Wilson, in Kent Street Sydney.

Our very first order was a custom weave of 600 metres of an orange-coloured scrim for Hugh Meagher Associates. Sadly, Hugh, a good and loyal friend and customer for decades, has been promoted to that big curtain workroom in heaven. I’m sure he will be measuring drapes and demanding a better price somewhere in heaven! We, and the industry, miss him.

Our Buildings

Our very first Showroom/Warehouse seemed like a real coup as it was Arthur G Wilson’s head office for decades. This wonderful old building on Kent Street, Sydney was known by everyone in the furnishing industry! A great start.

1980 Materialised Kent Street
Gary’s swish office in Kent Street. This was photographed before he occupied. Never to be so neat again!

Surry Hills was a much more accessible address even before it became gentrified. We were right on the corner of Crown and Devonshire. Prior to our purchasing the site it was a restaurant that had been set alight by the tenant, leaving us a massive renovation project.

Another move, this time to larger premises in Petersham which was a furniture manufacturer whose name we left intact as our attempt at preserving history. 

Our current location is in the leafy superb of Blakehurst which seemed massive and we never dreamed of filling the space. How wrong we were. We are in the process of extending the building adding another thousand square metres. Fabric, printers and people in every nook and cranny to accommodate the growth.

1980 – Launch Event

The launch was a gala event at the new showroom/office in Kent Street Sydney featuring a magician skilfully making all manner of things ‘materialise and de-materialise’. A hoot! The guest list could have been a textile industry ‘Who’s Who’!

Referring to our opening as a launch was somewhat prophetic! We actually saw Materialised as a vessel that would travel from port to port carrying new and exciting cargo (textiles) to different eagerly awaiting destinations. Following that analogy not only has our cargo changed, but also our ‘crew’ has grown in number, skill and length of service.

1984 – Launched Transfer Printed Furnishings

In 1984 we launched a collection of cutting edge ‘transfer printed furnishings’ in a broad range of designs with the option of multiple base cloths. The prospect of applying a pattern, on demand, to numerous base cloths from filmy sheers to robust upholstery and everything in between, was an industry game changer!

1980 Materialised first collection
Materialised’s very first collection comprised of all prints which set the model. Shown here is ‘Calligraphy’ which was available by the roll or as embellished homewares.

1985 – First Entry Into Aged Care

Aged care was transitioning from the tragically spartan institutions to recognising these places were people’s home, and their expectation was a higher level of service and amenity than had been provided, and of course the textile element of an interior fit-out can make a huge difference.

Our transfer print model served that transition well. We could provide the necessary functionality of Flame Retardancy, with an aesthetic that said HOME to the residents. It was an instant hit!

Materialised signature M Collection
Our signature ‘M’ design as accessories and roll.
Can't See Me Collection 1980's
Our ‘Can’t See Me’ collection. Even Matt Price played a part at a very early age.

The Next 4 Decades

Materialised’s journey over nearly four decades can be compared to a cargo ship!

We set out on a course carrying different cargo from port to port. Some of our crew continue passing through many ports, others leave, and in many cases, start their own enterprises. We are proud to have retained so many talented and dedicated people for decades, but also happy for those passing through that have both deposited and withdrawn something of value on their leg of our journey.

I like to write our name MATER!AL!SED as we are a textile resource of EXCLAIM!

We look with excitement to what is over the horizon on the next stage of this adventurous journey. Sail with us!

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