Hustle and grind are the new hot words being thrown around the internet these days. You can barely watch a Youtube video without being shown an advert by an influencer who “has it all” – and all it took was grinding every day while letting life pass them by – leaving no room for friends, family, or any relaxation. It feels as if we are always going non-stop, looking for the next “big thing” which will finally “complete” our life.
Plyroom, a Melbourne-based design studio, takes a different approach to life with their ‘Slow Bedroom Collection’, designed and hand-crafted by their team. They aim to give buyers furniture which they can use to relax with, be present with themselves and others, and live a slow and intentional life.
Life in the Slow Lane
As the quest to get richer and retire young is taken on by many younger people, there are some who are choosing to slow down and take an easier and more considered path through life. The slow life philosophy prioritizes mindfulness, intention, and purpose in daily life. This can take a few different forms, such as taking a longer lunch break at work and going for a re-energizing walk in nature. Or avoiding scrolling on social media while eating and savoring your meal. Or just by spending more time playing rather than endlessly working. These are all core ideas of a slow life.
Elise from Plyroom says that the ‘Slow Bedroom Collection’ “speaks to that quintessential value [of the 1950s], to buy once and buy well”. The furniture of this decade was designed to be flourish-free and utilitarian, with the idea being that when you are buying a piece of furniture, you’re buying something which will last a lifetime, and for future generations beyond. You were supposed to pass on your dresser drawer to your children and even grandchildren. This is why we still find furniture from the 1950s in many homes, whereas some furniture made a mere decade ago currently sits in a landfill. Plyroom is going against the modern capitalist ideal, which is to provide cheap and disposable items to a mass of consumers. Their ‘Slow Bedroom Collection’ is an argument against mindless consumerism and a “go go go” lifestyle.
The pillar of the ‘Slow Bedroom Collection’ is aptly named the ‘Slow Bed’. The design is about as simple as can be – lacking anything extraneous. Plyroom has focussed on making a piece of furniture that will stand the test of time, meaning that it can look beautiful in any space. As interior design aesthetics change rapidly from year to year, many people find themselves replacing their furniture in order to keep up with their changing wall color and decor. The Slow Bed has been crafted to blend into any space – belonging to any room it is placed in no matter how the room itself may change.
The overall frame of the bed gives off a natural vibe, showing the plywood without any bells and whistles beyond a glossy protective coating. The frame is supported by the semi-circular legs which add in a simple splash of design which doesn’t distract but adds some playfulness to the design. A storage drawer was built for use under the bed, which helps those who live in smaller spaces to keep their place tidy without needing to overcrowd the room with a large closet. For families with children, the ‘Slow Bed Rail’ is a simple solution to keep them from rolling out of the bed during the night.
The bed is complemented by the ‘Slow Bedside Table’, which serves its utilitarian purpose of being functional and without unnecessary flourishes. It is an excellent addition to the ‘Slow Bed’ and really brings the room together – providing further storage space while taking a fraction of the space.
As their name suggests, Plyroom is a big fan of plywood. Exclusively using sustainably forested and certified Baltic birch and European beech, the ‘Slow Bedroom Collection benefits from the natural look given by the wood. As Plyroom says, “It’s made from real trees.” This breathes real energy into the room, making things feel cleaner and more in tune with the Earth. When building, thin sheets of construction veneers are bonded in layers to create strong and stable boards, which unlike a solid board of wood won’t shrink or swell under different heat conditions. Plyroom wants their furniture to be usable by people from anywhere in the world, no matter their current climate.
When Plyroom needs to use European beech wood, they work alongside a family of Italian furniture makers. This family knows a thing or two about slow living, having honed their craft for a hundred years. They have seen design trends come and go but what they have kept consistent through it all is a focus on getting the basics of furniture design correct – utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing in any space.
Both the European beech and Baltic birch are sustainably harvested – birch has a faster rate of growth compared to other species of tree. Plyroom intends that the wood they use is of the highest standard possible while ensuring there is enough nature leftover to walk around in once they are finished.
Going Against the Grain
As per their Essentialism ethos, Plyroom furniture is built to last for generations to come. This is achieved by pressing and gluing each layer of plywood in alternating directions, causing the grains to go against each other and bend against themselves, which makes the wood much stronger than usual. A child bouncing on the bed won’t so easily break the frame.
Plyroom does use some solid timber and pieces of brass as compliments to their pieces, but the main aim of their work is to create furniture which is built to last. They don’t rush their production to meet an arbitrary quota, sometimes taking upwards of two years to settle on the final design of a product.
The idea of slowing down and taking a moment to be present feels harder to do in our ever-busy world. Plyroom’s ‘Slow Bedroom Collection’ is helping to bring a sense of quiet, easy, and intentional living to our daily lives and those of future generations through their sustainable furniture – built to last.