In 2023, Decor + Design & The Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) will be taking visitors on a journey into true sustainability at the inaugural Green Design Hub. Curated by Karie Soehardi of Circular Design Thinking, it will be a thought-provoking space and also feature sustainable products available to the industry right now, from beautiful brands including Armadillo, Cultivated by Cult Design, E9 Design, Hameland, Cosentino, AH Beard, Zepel Fabrics, ResiLoop and TRAKS Textile Recycling.

‘Rolly’ sofa from e9 Design

Sydney-based brand E9 Design will be contributing a stunning modular sofa to the Hub and also exhibiting at Stand C8.

Launched in 2022, E9 Design was ‘born green’, with circularity built into its manufacturing processes and materials. Made from 97% sustainable materials, their sofas are built to last and are fully customisable for Australian spaces and lifestyles. They’re made locally in Australia for a lower carbon footprint and even customised pieces are available in six weeks or less.

In the lead up to the event, we spoke with E9 Design’s Founder, Steve Higgs, about the origins and mission of the brand.

Steve, can you tell us a little about your background and the foundation of E9 Design?

I fell into the furniture industry in 1984 when I started a job as a leather cutter. Since then, my passion for learning has seen me involved in everything from Design and Manufacturing, to Retail and Marketing.

I have run a diverse group of Australia’s leading manufacturing facilities, from Fantastic Furniture to King Furniture. I have also set up (and managed) facilities abroad.

In 2010, I retired from the industry. A decade later, I agreed to design and build some bespoke furniture for a friend.

This project reignited my passion for the “game”, and soon after, I co founded e9 design with my sons Jordan and Damon. We spent the next two years developing a unique system of design, construction and manufacture.

We have now curated a range of furniture based on those methods and in 2022 we opened our first showroom in Alexandria.

E9 Design Founders: Steve Higgs with his sons Jordan and Damon

How customisable are the sofa ranges for the interior design industry?

Customisation is part of our DNA. We looked to industries such as architecture, construction and even cars, where customisation is so common it is “normal”.

Our digitally-based systems allow us to work with designers to produce products that are tailored to fit the exact requirement of their clients. Sizing, comfort levels and upholstery choices are all normal for us.

The ‘Rolly’ Sofa by E9 design

We can even do completely original bespoke pieces. The results feel seamless and special once they’re in situ.

When budgetary constraints do not allow for full customisation, our extensive range of standard sizes can often achieve a custom feel when combined with a fabric you love.

Circular design is a major focus of Decor + Design this year. How do e9 design collections reflect this philosophy?

We knew from day one that circular design was mandatory for E9 Design. Starting from scratch has been a huge advantage. Our products have been “born green”. We use a variety of methods to achieve this.

  • Longevity – our products are made to last and we choose quality over price to achieve this. Ultimately this is still less expensive in the long term. All components are replaceable over the life of our sofas. This includes our removable covers.
  • Recycled and recyclable materials – wherever we can, we use recycled materials, we do. For example some of our moveable backrests are weighted (to stay in place) with recycled glass which has been crushed to a “sand” and contained within a hemp canvas satchel which is recoverable at the end of life.Our steel frames are fully recyclable, as are many of the textiles we use. We make components from recovered / recycled ocean plastics. We use sustainably sourced timber for our legs.
  • We do not permanently join dissimilar materials. Everything is designed to be easily disassembled at end of life for recycling. When we do join materials such as foam, we use low VOC, water-based glues.
  • Future proofing – we create designs with a timeless quality. We also envision a future where a frame, or a complete structure, could be reused to create a new, or updated product which embraces the latest contemporary styling cues. If you then added a new cover, it will have a new life.
  • Ongoing research and improvement – the E9 Design team are constantly looking for new and emerging technologies and materials to reduce our footprint.

The ‘Eclipse’ curved sofa by e9 design (Also in Feature Image of Article)

You will be participating in the 2023 Green Design Hub at Decor + Design Melbourne this year, 13 – 16 July. How will you be involved and why did you decide to take part?

We were invited to be part of the Green Design Hub by the curator, Karie Soehardi, as a follow on to participating in an EPA study into circular design conducted by her.

We are passionate about making a difference, so if e9 design can inspire others to adopt greener practices, we will jump at the chance. We hope that sharing our work with the design community will add to the demand for more sustainable products.

See E9 Design’s beautifully sustainable and stylish work at Stand C8 and the 2023 Green Design Hub at Decor + Design & The Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF), 13 – 16 July at Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Decor + Design will also showcase hundreds of exhibitors across indoor and outdoor furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, textiles and art, plus other features including VIVID Emerging Designer Awards and the Seminar Series, in partnership with The Design Files.

Entry to the exhibition is free but limited to trade visitors. Register now to visit and plan your trip to Australia’s premier trade event for the interior design industry.