Monique Ryan-Musacchio is the Founder of Malawi Cane Australia and Coastal Drift Interiors. With an emphasis on the handmade, both businesses nurture the talents of individual artisans in Monique’s birthplace of Africa.

The stunning collections feature hand-woven baskets, furniture and soft furnishings that are all made from natural, sustainable materials. They evoke African style while being a perfect fit for coastal life.

Monique is also the Founder of Lifestyle Collective Northern Beaches. In less than a year, the latter has become a thriving collective of twelve lifestyle businesses.

We are delighted that the businesses will be exhibiting at Stand K2 of Decor + Design from the 18-21 July in Melbourne! In the lead up to the show, we asked Monique a few questions to uncover more about her inspirations, plus garnered a sneak peek of the gorgeous wares they will be exhibiting…

Monique Ryan-Musacchio

First off, can you tell us a little bit about the business?

Both Malawi Cane and Coastal Drift Interiors are focused on the handmade – we celebrate individual artisans and traditional and time-honoured techniques and skills from Africa. From hand-crafted furniture, hand-woven baskets, hand-printed cushions and hand-stitched small goods.

Our products are all made from natural materials that are endemic to the regions. Where we do introduce colours to basketware, they are created with natural organic vegetable and mineral dyes.

We love this Box Single Chair with Leather Cushion. Image: Malawi Cane

The passion for my birth-home in Africa continues to be the driving force behind Coastal Drift Interiors and Malawi Cane; knowing that we are nurturing and protecting the traditional crafts and artisans in the Southern African region.

What have the highlights been for Malawi Cane and Coastal Drift Interiors so far this year?

Without a doubt the biggest highlight of the past year has been founding and bringing to life Lifestyle Collective Northern Beaches (LCNB). In under a year, we now have 12 businesses as part of the collective working hub – ranging from interiors businesses to construction, photography and travel.

One of the driving forces behind the idea for the Collective was the value we would continually see when creative business collaborated and worked together. With the ever-changing economic, small business and high-street landscape, one of our core values and beliefs at LCNB is collaboration over competition, every day of the week.

We’ve been so proud of the support we’ve received from the interiors industry nationally, and specifically the recognition we’ve received for supporting lifestyle and interiors small businesses along the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We’re thrilled to also have the support of the Decor + Design team and to be exhibiting at Decor + Design Melbourne as Lifestyle Collective Northern Beaches at Stand K2.

Lily Baskets and Buhera Bowls. Image: Coastal Drift Interiors

The theme of the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series at Decor + Design in 2019 is ‘Global Village’. How much attention do your team pay to global trends?

We do nod to global trends, but they are not a driving force for us.

We are holistically made up of cane and woven hand-crafted goods, and we see our work as sharing what has always been present in Africa. We sit to the side of trends, you could say. We showcase what has existed for generations, and with some pieces, we overlay a more contemporary design aesthetic that gives the traditional crafts a broader appeal.

For example, traditionally the tribal farmers in Zimbabwe use baskets in their villages to collect and store grain. With our help, we introduce contemporary designs with functional and creative aspects; enabling them to have broader appeal, which in turn provides consistent work to support the artisans and their communities.

Malawi Cane Market Baskets. Image: Malawi Cane

Our passion centres on preserving the traditional, time-honoured techniques that have been handed down from one generation to the next – and sharing these with the world.

You will be exhibiting at Decor + Design in Melbourne, July 18 – 21. What can trade visitors expect to see from you this year?

We will be launching several new pieces across our furniture, décor and homewares ranges, that are appealing to both home and lifestyle uses.

We’ll have lots of new pieces from both Malawi and Zimbabwe – we can’t wait to show everyone the new Kasbah cushions and Yoga pads!

We’ll also have furniture from our main Malawi Cane ranges, in all our colours including natural, black, white, navy, charcoal, dark brown and the Pantone colour of the year, living coral.

Don’t miss Malawi Cane & Coastal Drift Interiors (Lifestyle Collective Northern Beaches) at Stand K2 of Decor + Design!
Australia’s No.1 Interiors Event will take place at Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 18 – 21 July.

Register here for free trade entry.