Merchant Builders (1967)

Nexus Designs began as a manufacturing business for Merchant Builder kitchens in 1967. Until this time, kitchens were separate to the dining and living rooms. In Merchant Builders houses the kitchen, dining and family rooms became one, and were all connected to a courtyard with landscape designed by Ellis Stones. This flow of rooms was a distinctive Merchant Builders difference, and we kept the finishes minimal to enhance the simplicity of the spaces.

Commissioning furniture from leading Australian craftsman, including Leslie Wright, balanced the imported pieces, and antiques were used sparingly, specifically to illustrate to potential clients how their existing furniture could work beautifully within contemporary architecture. The simple patterns and bright colours of Marimekko fabrics, imported by Merlin Cunliffe for his Thesaurus stores, suited the houses perfectly and we used them for covering furniture and bedcovers.

Nexus Designs continues today as a successful design studio, following the pathfinding role in Australian design which was set by David Yencken and John Ridge.

(Extract from “Merchant Builders & Nexus Designs” by Janne Faulkner AM)

Further reading:
Merchant Builders: Celebrating a fifty-year legacy
Merchant Builders: Towards a New Archive
Robin Boyd Foundation