A Weekend at Pearl Beach with Livio Tobler

Photography by Leif Prenzlau

This week we tag along for a short stay at Pearl Beach with furniture designer Livio Tobler, his partner artist Poppy Kural and their beautiful daughter Etta. Pearl Beach is a small seaside town an hour and a half out of Sydney but a world away from the busyness of city life. The couple spend a lot of time here in Poppy’s family's beach house; a wonderfully nostalgic shack filled with warmth and a long history of family gatherings and milestone moments. We spoke with Livio about his design practice, creative process and what he enjoys most about spending time at this special seaside locale.

“This house is Poppy’s grandma's beach shack, it's been in the family for forty years. It’s an untouched time capsule with all original interiors. It's really a magical spot being so close to the beach and the surrounding national park, we’ve felt very lucky to be able to use it over the years as an escape from the city.”

“Mutzi, Poppy’s grandmother, took beautiful photos from the moments she spent at Pearl Beach over the many years and she hung these around the fibro shack alongside other paintings and drawings. They all have a special attachment to the family and have created a warm and nostalgic atmosphere.“

The table is set with an IN BED 100% linen tablecloth in Marigold Stripe.

“The thing I love the most about pearl beach is the holiday atmosphere, there is no urgency and no need to do anything. It's nice to just stay put, do some cooking outside on the fire, engage in some small talk with the locals, listen to music and have an afternoon nap. A local spot that we really love is the waterfalls and swimming holes in the national park nearby.”

“I used to work as a graphic designer in the city and got pretty burnt out by the 9-5 in front of the computer screen. I loved designing but I wasn't cut out for the office environment and I always had an idea of getting into industrial or furniture design but I didn’t want to go back to university. I thought doing a carpentry apprenticeship would allow me to gain knowledge and skill in constructing physical objects and structures. I started experimenting and building furniture with the leftover materials from work, making pieces for myself and friends. It wasn’t until I made some furniture for my sister, Chanel Tobler’s, art show that I started getting some interest in my work and thought about pursuing furniture design.”

I started experimenting and building furniture with the leftover materials from work, making pieces for myself and friends.

Livio’s bed is dressed with IN BED 100% linen bedding in Cocoa, Lilac and Chestnut.

“The challenging part is also the part I enjoy the most and that's designing something and then having to build it so it's functional, figuring out the details that hold it all together. Occasionally I really shoot myself in the foot with some designs, but that's where my knowledge in building construction has come handy.”

“There are two paths that I follow when designing a piece of furniture. If it's a commission I’ll have a pretty fluid conversation with the client about what they're after in terms of material, dimensions and the placement of the piece and then I’ll just start sketching until I’ve come up with a form I’m happy with. On the other end of the spectrum, If I'm working on an experimental piece of furniture, I’ll design to the availability of materials, creating designs as I build them, breaking them down and building them back up again repetitively until it takes shape, its complete improvisation!”

“The year seems to have accelerated rather quickly with it still feeling like the beginning of the year! I look forward to working on new commissions; committing more time to my practice and finding a new place to live and setting up my workshop properly.”