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Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:38

On The Horizon

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On The Horizon

After several years of working on projects around the globe and establishing himself as a popular fixture on US television, Jamie Durie has returned to Australia with a number of projects in the works. He speaks with Lara Bailey.

A household name thanks to his high-profile TV roles and knack for landscape design, Jamie Durie has expanded his repertoire over the years, designing outdoor furniture, a skincare range, and dabbling in interior decorating. His latest project, Horizons by Jamie Durie Signature, is a range of rugs created in collaboration with The Rug Collection.

The rugs – including the design ‘Terra Verde’, which Durie is pictured with at left – are inspired by Durie’s globetrotting travels.

“I travel quite a bit these days, so the inspirations have come from horizons all over the world,” he says.

“It’s really about the ocean meeting the sky; the earth meeting the mountains; salt flats meeting the sky. Each rug … gradually runs between two or three colour spectrums, and you can pick up any one of those colours … and align that with some of the other colours within your home … so it’s an effortless way to design.”


Having appeared on 12 different design shows in the US and worked abroad in various locations, Durie is enjoying living primarily in Australia again. At the time of this interview, his show The Outdoor Room was screening its fourth season, and had “gone to 28 countries”.

Reflecting on his career, Durie says his original approach to outdoor design – i.e. conceptualising the backyard as another room of the house, the ‘outdoor room’ – remains a relevant and valued part of his and his team’s attitude towards landscaping and outdoor design.

“I guess that’s always been a part of our philosophy, for [more than] ten years now,” he says.

“Some [people] have said that we [Durie and his team] pioneered the term, which I’m very flattered to hear, but my idea and our whole brand promise is really about connecting people with plants. I think the easiest way to do that is to build destinations, [such as] outdoor lounge rooms, outdoor dining rooms, outdoor kitchens [and so on], where people actually get out into the garden and spend more time in that landscape, and they’re immediately connected to nature, simply through that process.”


In addition to having created countless landscapes, Durie has been engaged for projects the world over, and his expertise has come in handy for massivescale, multi-million dollar projects.

One in particular stands out in his mind. “Probably the biggest project we’ve worked on to date would be the Al Barari, in Dubai. That was a $2.4 billion master plan, so it was a huge project, [with] 330-odd villas that range between $8 million and $12 million apiece.

“We did all the landscape architecture for that and it’s been [very successful] – I think there are only three villas left; they’ve all sold.

“I was on my way to exhibit our first range of furniture in Milan in April [2013] and we stopped over for a couple of days in Dubai to go and take a look at the project and it was like a jungle; like an oasis in the middle of the desert – it really is amazing. We were working on that project for five years.”


Durie’s interest in the melding of indoors and outdoors and his keenness to create has been a natural gateway into furniture design; a field he has recently embraced. It is, he says, his most consuming passion.

“I think definitely the most enjoyable thing that I’m doing right now is furniture design. I absolutely love it and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Unlike a landscape, the furniture pieces will never change. They can’t be manipulated and they could live for ever.”

Durie’s interior furniture line is the result of a collaboration with Riva 1920, a luxury Italian brand that shares Durie’s passion for eco-friendly design.

The Jamie Durie for Riva 1920 line was launched at the Milan Furniture Fair, and the collection included a sofa, stools, a table and shelves.

The high-end collaboration is a considerable departure from his line of outdoor products for Big W. Durie says this reflects the importance he places on providing quality goods at both ends of the price spectrum.

“I think for the most part it’s important to me that good design is accessible to everyone, and so … nine years ago we started designing [outdoor] furniture for our Patio by Jamie Durie range. Initially we felt that this range, which is available at Big W, would really allow the marketplace to get access to good, sustainable design. It allows people to decorate their outdoor spaces the same way they would look at their indoor spaces.

“The new Horizons rugs, I think, are the easiest way to do that, because you’re essentially taking natural, beautiful, inspiration and colour and vibrancy into your home. [The Horizons rugs are] also 100 per cent pure New Zealand wool, and they’re all handmade.”

Durie’s new book, Edible Garden Design is available now, and in addition to his skincare line, People for Plants, he has also launched a new product – a vertical greenwall blanket that allows you to have a garden, regardless of how compact your property is.

There is plenty on the horizon for Durie, and he is looking forward to new challenges and adventures.

“There’s a lot on my plate but I’ve got a really good team around me,” he says.


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