This week’s AFA Designer Spotlight features Carmelo Princiotto from Jamel Furniture in Western Australia. Mel has worked in the furnishing sector for many years and his story will inspire readers with the highs, lows and, achievements of this tenacious individual. Learn more about Mel and his amazing business in this Designer Spotlight Q & A.

AFA: Where and what did you Study?

Mel: I became an apprentice cabinet maker in 1985 and started to design furniture a few years later. I became a tradesman at 19 years old and started Jamel in 1992 , this allowed me to express my work and design’s .

AFA: Do you prefer to work in the residential or commercial furniture space?

Mel: I enjoy commercial work for the clean lines and modern looks, however my heart and passion is residential creations. There is nothing like the warm home feeling.

AFA: Do you have an international client base? And in which countries?

Mel: Dubai , Russia , China

AFA: What is your greatest professional design achievement so far?

Mel:  There are so many, as we have won over 40 awards Australia Wide including the Premier’s Award in Western Australia, but I would have to say the development of Marri Timber is one of my favourites. This Log was once used for wood chips and Jamel developed a brand and new market. Today Marri is global in sales and used for flooring, joinery and furniture. Jamel has sold over 40,000 furniture items made from Marri since 1997.

Jamel has also developed a 30 mm solid furniture door, which allows us to create a distinctive Jamel look by shaping the edges. Clients always say we noticed the Jamel look on the retail floor!

AFA: What has been your greatest professional design challenge so far?

Mel: The availability and quality of raw material – timber. Also designing for a budget with costs based on Australian labour in comparison to imports. There must be a balance.

AFA: How important are standards/testing certification in relation to creating your designs?

Mel: 100 % important , we must have an equal playing field against imports. I wouldn’t ever use a timber that is not sustainable or plantation.

AFA: What ONE business service can’t you do without?

Mel: Insurance, financial advice, legal, marketing and media are ALL a business must.

AFA: What is your view on cheap imported rip offs?

Mel: its damaging to the Furniture industry, apprenticeships and the Australian work force.

I think it’s too late for Government to do anything about this. I suppose that at some point, consumers may realise, it’s not really that cheap or safe, when it needs to be replaced or repeatedly repaired!

AFA: What has been the single most important business/professional decision that was the tipping point in your career?

Mel:  The constant re-invention of the Company. The retail furniture sector goal posts have moved past professional kicking distance. It has to change!

AFA: Who is your biggest design inspiration and why?

Mel: When I was really young back in the early 1990s there were a handful of manufactures from NSW / VIC / SA that influenced me. When I was in my thirties I was getting inspired by the Milan Show, but no particular designers.

AFA: What does the future look like for you as an individual designer/partnership and the business in a commercial $$$ sense?

Mel: Our commercial division seems strong, but residential business is fickle.

AFA: What’s the one thing your business can’t do without?

Mel: Great management team and great staff.

AFA: If you could work with anyone in the world who would it be?

Mel: Not sure but they would certainly get a lot of sharing of knowledge.

Want to know more? – Jamel Furntiture website:

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