9 Hynes Street, Fortitude Valley
During one of Brisbane's few wintry days of this year, I was drawn into WS Workshop by a warm handshake from manager Lachlan and the enticing smell of WSw001. The unisex fragrance blends cedar, sandalwood and Brazilian rosewood, and is one of the business' "life essentials"- a range of homewares, garments and furniture that are created with durability and quality as a top priority.
Started by Ian Wrightson and Steven Stewart in 2013 as a series of bespoke kitchen designs manufactured in Brisbane, the brand has since expanded to include other elements of home and lifestyle. In their Fortitude Valley store they now stock predominantly Brisbane-made items, as well as some complementary Australian and Japanese designs. Prices range from $30 for some of the smaller products to over $4000 for some of the furnishings.
I'm impressed by their commitment to multi-functionality and to sourcing locally. Lachlan emphasises that how the pieces look is a result of their function - they aren't designed to look a certain way, just to work a certain way. He adds that the key is getting others - customers, manufacturers - to buy into that philosophy of simplicity and utility. Both Lachlan and Steven cite this open dialogue and strong rapport as an important part of upholding the quality of their products.
The minimalist clothing range really captured my imagination - a picnic rug that doubles as a stylish poncho? Yes please! Lachlan tells me that they worked with a Tasmanian manufacturer to create these, reviving an old weave to create the durable and slightly waterproof Utility Poncho. Every piece seems to have a story, and I would recommend asking!