In 2018, North Sydney’s Sub Base Platypus – a former torpedo factory, submarine base and gasworks – opened to the public for the first time in 150 years as a hub on the waterfront with mixed use, residential workplaces, a communal playground and barbecue. Now it is also home to the new store and the headquarters of the ethical lifestyle brand Koskela.
The husband-and-wife team Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky left their business careers to “create a better business for a better world”, launching Koskela in 2000. Its former Rosebery location showcased the best in Australian lifestyle design and allowed visitors to book in-store consultations and see exhibits by leading First Nations artists. Its new two-level, protected North Sydney space plays the same role and is also a physical reflection of Koskela’s values.
“Russel and I started Koskela 22 years ago with slightly different design-based motifs – he was motivated by a passion for furniture and product design, and I was motivated to design a company that fit our values,” says Titchkosky. Broadsheet. “At the time we started, the Australian manufacturing industry was offshored to China, and we really wanted to know who made our products, what went into them and the working conditions available. We also wanted to prove that you could design and manufacture products in Australia that were as good as any available globally. “
The building’s industrial bones have been exposed as a nod to its past life, while floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the harbor. Titchkosky says that “the new space helps to reposition ourselves again. A smaller, more carefully composed footprint enables us to create much more meaningful relationships with our customers, which was really difficult in our giant space. It also helps by exposing what we do to a whole new audience that we are excited about. ”
Titchkosky also says the new location – right next to Sydney Harbor – helps “emphasize our connection to Sydney”.
The store is located on the land of the Cammeraygal people. A recently commissioned work of art by Koori artist and four-time Archibald finalist Blak Douglas speaks directly to the area’s history, as Titchkosky says, “there was once plenty of fish, oysters and mussels”.
“Cammeraygal’s presence is still very visible today with incredible sandstone rock carvings in nearby areas.”
To pay homage to the area’s natural features, the store’s design incorporates solid Australian timber and Sydney sandstone.
The port area will host a new exhibition every six to eight weeks, but will always show works by First Nations artists as well as Koskela’s collaborations with Aboriginal artists and creators.
“Mavis Ganambarr is an incredible Yolngu weaver from Elcho Island. She is working on a light collaboration with us called Yuta Badayala,” says Titchkosky. “Julie Anderson from Warakurna in Western Australia is another very talented weaver del part of Tjanpi Desert Weavers. She uses beautiful colors and patterns in the light collaboration Tili Wiru. ”
Titchkosky’s vision for Koskela is to be the Patagonia of the furniture industry – “a company driven by values and a North Star that motivates us to be creators of change in our industry. My hope is that Koskela will be admired for how we do business as well as for our products , and that we actually have an influence… in converting our industry to a regenerative model. ”
Sub Base Platypus, Building 10–08 / 118–120 High Street, North Sydney
(02) 9280 0999
Mon to Sat 10-16