Fremantle Furniture Defying Convention

“I aim to create work that causes people to have an emotional reaction, and challenges them, making them question how it’s possible. Designing in a way that doesn’t seem like it should work, but it just does.”

After years of engineering experience, Karl Young took his endless curiosity and innate passion for creating and began Saltwood Designs. Karl learnt the ropes from his father, making hobby furniture throughout his life.

He took a leap of faith to follow his heart and joined co-operative workshop, MANY in Fremantle. With a consistent flow of projects, including his work featured within the 2018 WA Architecture Award-Winning Cadogan Song School by Palassis Architects, Karl has not looked back.

Karl sees himself is more of a problem solver than a designer, though it’s the unique engineering of his work is what makes his designs distinct.

“I enjoy being given an initial concept and finding the end solution on how the design will work. I work with a lot of architects who come with a plan but need someone to fulfil it,” he says.

His unconventional ideas include a hairpin leg inspired coffee table, using Tasmanian Oak and a herringbone Marri coffee table made with freestanding planks of wood, rather than the traditional approach of assembling a pattern on a base. The original ideas set new ideals for furniture making.

A few of these ideas have been documented for the world to enjoy on his well-subscribed YouTube channel.

The core of Karl’s work remains with making sustainable pieces that will last a lifetime, using timbers that can stand this test. He loves the beauty of Australian timbers, however, the density of the wood, born from the arid Australian climate has led him to explore other materials for different purposes. American White Oak is a current favourite, along with Australian Walnut and Teak.