If you’re an interior designer or developer on the prowl for unique art, you’ve probably already met the Designer Boys. Or you might have spotted them on the box. The dynamic duo of Gavin Atkins & Warren Sonin – usually known by the more relaxed sobriquets of Gav & Waz – became household names in Australia after their star turn on the first series of home renovation juggernaut ‘The Block’ in 2003.
In demand following The Block, Gav & Waz forged ahead in interior design, working with discerning property owners and developers to create inspiring spaces. They have stamped their signature style on hundreds of homes across Australia, including sought after real estate and celebrity homes. They have also continued their association with television, designing interiors and make-overs for some of television’s top-rating home and renovation shows.
Inspired by the dearth of original, accessible art for interiors on the market, Gavin & Warren started their highly-regarded art wholesale business Designer Boys fourteen years ago. It has become a highly-regarded destination for the industry to source interesting pieces to offset diverse projects and is known as one of the strongest collections of decorative artworks in the industry.
Frequented by interior designers, architects, property developers and hotels and resorts, they now offer more than 3500+ Australian made artworks, designed exclusively for the interior design market. They work with the best artists, photographers and artisans to bring unique and on-trend artworks to the market with the Designer Boys flair.
Having sold their Potts Point home in 2016, “the Boys” – as they are affectionately known to the Australian public – now reside in the magnificent Noosa hinterland, ensconced on a country property with their beloved Jack Russell, Charlie. Surrounded by magnificent lush rainforest and rolling green hills, this idyllic location provides endless inspiration.
The Designer Boys have been a must-see the last few years at Australia’s No.1 Interiors event, Decor + Design and will be returning next week when the show launches on Thursday 20 July. In the lead up, we asked Gav & Waz to share some of their challenges, inspirations and triumphs.
You moved away from traditional interior design to start a successful art business. What drove you to launch Designer Boys and how does your experience inform your collections?
We realised the artworks we were creating for our own interior design projects would be perfect for other interior designers. Designers started calling us! We started off slowly and today we have a passion to create a beautiful collection of amazing artworks exclusively for interior designers.
What would you say have been the main challenges and triumphs since launching the business?
We love to continually evolve and to recreate ourselves and our business as our lifestyle and circumstances change. We thrive on being innovative and creative and this is what sets us apart. We really are the dynamic duo – always creating and on the go! We do struggle finding the perfect work and life balance. We haven’t found this to date, but our move to the country is a step in the right direction and helping us to re-balance.
Where do you find inspiration?
Our main inspiration comes from our love of nature and the beautiful aesthetics that surrounds where we live. I don’t think many people know that Gavin has a degree in environmental science – so his love of nature has always been part of him. That’s why our new collaborations with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Museum Victoria are a wonderful addition to our portfolio. All of us are collaborating on bringing natural curiosities to life. Our other inspiration and passion is interior design and creating beautiful spaces. So melding these passions together creates our magic (so to speak).
One of the themes of Decor + Design this year is the importance of sustainability, tapping into natural aesthetics and harnessing thoughtful processes. How does this feature in your work?
Many of our artisan crafted artworks – including hundreds of our signature artworks – are all created using beautiful sustainable materials. And we have a love of the handcrafted. Much of this skill is quickly disappearing and we are working with traditional artisans in keeping their incredible skills alive, while making their work more relevant and contemporary.
We’re delighted that you will be back exhibiting at Decor + Design this year. What can visitors expect from you at the show?
We are very excited to be part of Decor and Design again this year! We will be showcasing a carefully curated collection of magnificent artworks that show our individual style. We’ll also be showing designers how they can use Designer Boys to create a unique luxe look for their interiors. Think bold watercolours, metallic finishes, stunning botanicals, hand-embellished textiles and striking pieces from our collaborations with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Museum Victoria.
Don’t miss Designer Boys at Decor + Design, which opens on Thursday 20th July and runs until Sunday 23rd. They’ll be at Stand C19. You can also see over 250+ exhibitors from across the interiors industry, the VIVID design competition and attend the International Seminar Series. Register for your free trade ticket now.