Jeremy of JD.Lee Furniture
Meet The Maker
Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia
J.D.Lee Furniture was born in 2015 from Founder Jeremy Lee’s passion to create. Jeremy’s favourite subject in school was always woodwork and he constantly found himself giving new life to old shelves in the shed when he was younger. Naturally, he went on to study Industrial Design which lead into an apprecticeship as a furniture maker. Here, he developed his skills in joinery and craftsmanship.
Today, Jeremy is both the designer and maker at JD.Lee Furniture. Sustainable design and manufacturing are at the forefront of this furniture practice. Using natural materials, Jeremy aims to empowering the local community by sourcing materials sustainably and ethically. With a strong focus on longevity and adaptability, his products are designed so that they can always be taken with you. JD.Lee Furniture takes a holistic approach to the design process, material selection, matching, finishing and use of each piece. JD.Lee Furniture offers a range of set designs as well as a custom furniture design service.
Tell us about JD. Lee Furniture; where are you based, how long have you been there and what is your specialty? At JD.Lee Furniture we handcraft all our pieces from sustainably sourced furniture-grade timbers using traditional and modern joinery techniques. We are based on the far north coast of NSW. Moving was a lifestyle change after first establishing shop in Sydney.
Tell us about your collection; what are your main influences and how did you incorporate these into each design? Our collection has been slowly growing since our initial release in 2015 with clean lines and simple designs being the main theme throughout our range. Our designs are influenced by life and inspired by other incredible past and present designs. We make pieces we would want to own ourselves and that, we believe, will always hold and add to the space our customers live in.
You recently release the Finley Sofa, what were you trying to elicit or highlight in this piece? The Finley Sofa had been in the works for some time and when the opportunity came to move forward with this piece and have it displayed in The Plantroom in Manly, it came naturally. Like most of my collection, its clean lines and relaxed feel is evident with the use of warmer timber, grounded design and attention to detail. The Finley is relaxed yet sophisticated and is one of my favourite pieces to hang out on at home.
What’s your favourite aspect of this piece and did you enjoy the design and manufacture process? The cushion that ties to the back slats must be my favourite aspect of this piece- a small feature that adds so much. Every piece has its challenges. Though I often think furniture making is just about problem solving, we spend a lot of time in the design phase to help the making process go as smooth as possible. Imperfections are a natural element of organic timber, therefore challenges are inevitable but getting around them is half the fun.
How do you see the furniture design industry right now, are there any shifts or changes you’ve noticed? And how do you feel mass media and social platforms are influencing the furniture industry, or even your own designs? Honestly I don’t think about it that much. I would say there is definitely a push away from mass produced pieces, towards handmade, local and sustainable materials. I think social media platforms have made it easier for creatives in all areas to reach a larger audience and gain much more support for what they do. Not only has it been a useful platform for me to share my designs but also a way to share my journey. In my experience, the Instagram community is really quite amazing for connecting with other makers and sharing our experiences, helping each other wherever we can. To be able to easily see so much of the amazing work that is being created out of this platform is really inspiring.
How important to you is the relationship between furniture and interactivity? Do you think our surroundings influence how we live, work, or play? Of course. The design process of all of our pieces involves an understanding of ergonomics, the lifestyle of the piece and where and how it will be used. All of these elements decide the materials we use; the joinery and the finish, while keeping in mind ways to extend the life of each piece. Our Stoke range was created to be flatpacked for easy and cost effective shipping, and to make life easier with the constant moving that is the experience of many in the urban environment.
What materials do you enjoy working with and why? How does manufacturing locally affect your design process and final product? I love working with wood, every piece is different. There is no greater pleasure than planning back a rough stick of sawn timber to find a goldmine of beautiful grain and figure. My day is always dictated by the timber I am working with and the best way to work with it. There are rules with wood and I am constantly learning. Being the designer and the maker, I am able to reduce waste in so many areas and personally guarantee our product standard is met. There is something so special about watching an idea transform from just a sketch into a finished piece and then sharing it with others.
Why is furniture important to our daily lives? We believe that furniture should enhance your living. We create beautiful pieces to add feeling to any space; whether it’s sharing a meal at the dining table or just relaxing in an armchair. Each piece has been designed to suit its function and look damn good while doing so.
What is your favourite part about being a designer/ maker? The freedom in being able to express my ideas through the pieces we make. I don’t know, I just really love making things. It’s one thing to pen a sketch, but to touch and feel the timbers from the mill, taking back each layer by hand, cutting, joining, glueing and sanding… All the involved laborious work that leads to another piece in our collection is just a really humbling experience.