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Born in Yorkshire England, completed a degree in engineering whilst sponsored by the aerospace industry. Moved into the automotive industry to work on advanced engine technology and spent the next 13 years in a range of roles from hands on engineering through to senior management. Developed numerous patented technology inventions and traveled the world in order to deliver projects and develop new business opportunities. Keith Melbourne's path into furniture design is not a typical one.
Although he had built a successful engineering and management career, Keith increasingly found his work life unrewarding. Thinking that his life lacked creativity and freedom he decided to try a new direction. In 2004 he resigned and enrolled at WA Central TAFE to study furniture design.
Keith has found he has a talent and passion for furniture design. His combination of design, engineering, management and commercial skills is unusual in the furniture industry but is proving to be a great asset.
Motivated by his new found passion Keith has made rapid progress in the industry. In a short time Keith has completed a diploma in furniture design, developed a series of highly regarded furniture prototypes, and exhibited in 8 national design exhibitions including EDGE, VIVID, Workshopped and Launchpad. He has received a number of awards and his work has been widely published.
Searching for suitable design focused furniture manufacturers with whom to partner, Keith first approached Woodmark in early 2006. Finding Keith’s work interesting Woodmark gave him a brief for a new occasional chair. Keith quickly responded with the Amelia chair design.
Keith works with a range of design tools. "I'm fascinated by the creative process, particularly the process of trying to capture and refine what I see in my head. The Amelia range was developed by moving backwards and forwards between CAD and very accurate models. CAD is ideal for working with the intersection of geometric shapes but it's rather 'dead'. I also need to work with my hands, to touch and feel".
Amelia is an example of Keith's ability to create striking designs whilst simultaneously solving structural and manufacturing issues. "I wanted to create a strong sculptural form without the need for costly moulding of foam or plywood. Playing with the intersection of simple geometric forms I was able to develop a chair with more complex and sophisticated lines, which is also very comfortable and requires only simple fabrication processes for manufacture".
Amelia was quickly expanded into a range of furniture which has become affectionately known as her family. Amelia's sisters are the Ella chair with arms, Lucy ottoman, Sophie 2-seater settee and coffee tables Cecelia and Rose.