Oliver Bucher is the founder and creative mastermind behind his furniture brand, despite having no design training. The talented 50-year-old Swiss started the company in Italy 25 years ago. “I wanted the products to be made there because the ‘made in Italy’ stamp means quality,” he explains. However, he also believes that beautiful furniture should be accessible to everyone. Read our interview with him below:
Oliver with the 500s chair, which features seats salvaged from old Fiat 500 cars.
You have no background in design, so how did Oliver B come about?
When I turned 18, my father said, “Now you have to go out into the world”. So I spent about ten years abroad. First, I was a pilot in America, then a ski instructor in Saint Moritz. I also attended various business schools and did an apprenticeship at Habitat (a big furniture chain in Europe), which inspired me. I was 27, and sitting in a bistro in Paris one day when I decided to start a furniture company. But I admit that I can’t draw furniture; I have the ideas but I can’t draw well!
The Flora range, inspired by fashion, features attractive, fashionable floral patterns and glossy surfaces.
What’s unique about the brand’s style and identity?
We focus on trends and make use of available resources in a surprising way. For example, the Briccola collection makes use of wood from old mooring poles (or briccole) in Venice, which is recycled and turned into furniture. As for the 500s chair, we bought old Fiat 500 car seats, added legs and renewed them with new leather. My philosophy is to never stick to one style. I want to be “mixed” and I want to be different! This makes it interesting for people, too, as they’ll never know what I’m coming up with next.
Part of the Wild Oak range, the Clipper dining table has a rough and “raw” tabletop surface that exhibits the natural beauty of wood.
Do you have a lot of your own designs at home?
I live in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, and I don’t really have a lot of furniture from the Oliver B catalogue. But I have sample pieces that never went into production. As the buyers don’t like them, I keep them and show how fantastic they look in my homes! Often, I apply custom colours to the pieces. I need special things at home, so I make the furniture specially for myself.
How do you make a home “different”?
Mix and match. Have the courage to try something you don’t normally like. Bring the world into your home by letting the furniture tell the stories.
Oliver B is exclusively available at Harvey Norman, #02-56 Millenia Walk, tel. 6311-9988.