Timeless, fun, and comfy furniture design
Photography courtesy of Zoe Lonergan & Shan Rose Photography
In December 2022, Newcastle became home to a brand-new take on furniture as Australian-made modular lounges by Culture Cush officially launched.
Brought to you by South Coast-born, now Newcastle local designer, furniture maker, and upholsterer, Reioni Douglas – Culture Cush is the home of the most timeless, fun, and comfy retro-inspired furniture.
“I have always been drawn to making and sewing but it took a while for me to believe that a creative ‘maker’ career was something that could pay the bills.
“Furniture upholstery was something I always wanted to try because it combined my love of vintage, sewing, and recycling. Once I tried it, I was hooked and now I’ve been giving furniture a new life for over seven years.”
Some may recognise Rei from her transformative furniture business, Upholstrei, whom we originally featured back in 2019. Four years later, Rei has developed an offering unique to Newcastle with her vintage-like modular lounge designs.
“I’m all about diverting furniture from landfill and I was on the lookout for a vintage modular lounge to reupholster for my home, but to be honest, it became a bit soul-destroying.
“I either couldn’t find the right configuration to suit my lounge room, or the internal foundations weren’t strong enough to justify the investment in spending thousands on new foam and fabric. I wanted the mid-century look and feel, and knew with hindsight and the use of modern materials that I could do better.”
And do better she did.
A year of planning and prototyping later, and the brand, Culture Cush, was launched into the world. The brand’s focus? Handcrafted vintage-inspired furniture – and my golly it’s swoon-worthy.
“I consciously designed the furniture to be simplistic and to act as a chameleon that can allow for creative freedom. I think that the design works in all kinds of homes – from super retro to super modern and everything in between.”
Taking inspiration from mid-century modular lounges, sofas, and those iconic conversation pits, the Culture Cush range includes four modular lounge pieces that allow for multiple configurations and a choice of velvet fabric in eight different colours.
The four modular pieces include the corner (angle back or straight back), the straight, ottoman, and the table module (mirror, glass, or timber). The fabric choice is where your personality can really shine. Choose from brandy, saffron, tangerine, scarlet, milk, moss, forest, or twilight.
“I only use the best, most durable commercially rated materials, and where possible, materials with a low-tox status. I’ve prioritised a ‘no nasties’ approach because I don’t want myself, the other makers, or my customers to breathe in harmful toxins.”
Each piece is purely made to order, with the whole process (from order to completion) taking around 12-16 weeks. With a young family at home, Rei has always taken the ‘full transparency’ approach and has her full-price guide available online here.
Moving into the new year, Culture Cush already has big plans to expand the range. A curved module will be added to the collection, and there will be more fabric and feet options to choose from, plus clients will be able to customise their overall look and dimensions.
Additionally, Culture Cush will be opening its own space in Bennetts Green in February under the name Cush Studio.
“It will be a dedicated workspace and showroom for Culture Cush as well as a content space for brand and business owners to come and shoot content. It’s been five years working solo so it will be so nice to have creatives around and give them a space that they feel inspired in.”
Whether you’re interested in hearing more about the Culture Cush collection or are interested in the Cush Studio offering, drop into Rei’s DM’s at [email protected]