Anne-Claire Petre

Emi - American red oak

French born designer Anne-Claire Petre runs anaca studio, a Melbourne based furniture brand offering a range of sophisticated and sustainable furniture.
anaca studio began in early 2012 when, after 11 years of industry experience, Anne-Claire decided to finally bring her sketchbooks to life through an inspiring range of eco-friendly, locally made furniture.
Studies in industrial and furniture design took her from France to Scotland and to a design-making associateship at the Jamfactory in Adelaide. Along the way she developed her understanding of good design, materials and processes. In Melbourne, working for well-known furniture companies and architecture and interior design studios provided her with valuable insight into the Australian industry. 

Anne-Claire has a passion for design principles, a belief that simplicity of forms and thoughtful details are essential to creating beautiful and lasting products and it is this that is central to the anaca studio brand.


Materials I work with most…

Solid timber is certainly one of my favourite materials, so it tends to be present in many of my designs. There is a beautiful warmth and texture to it. It is also very durable which makes the products more sustainable. I often combine timber and metal in my products. The change in texture, finish and in the feel creates more depth and layers. I enjoy the visual contrast that this particular mix of materials offers.

What I like about wood…

Solid timber is an easy material to work with. New technologies and hi-tech machinery mean that we can pretty much do anything using timber. 
The challenge is often to feel confident that the client will understand the colour and grain variation that can occur on a table top for example. Each piece of solid timber has its own “digital print” but not everyone always understands or appreciates this.
My favourite project was working on a collection of coffee, dining and side tables using American black walnut, as a bespoke project for a Melbourne interior designer. That timber has such a rich colour and stunning texture and we had some beautiful variations in the grain. This translated in to giving these particular pieces a very elegant and luxurious look. I don’t believe we would have achieved this with another timber.

What was the inspiration for Emi?

I wanted to work on a small piece that would be versatile and easily find its place in any interior. So the seating “pods” made sense. Considering the title of the project “Seed to Seat”, the idea of the “pod” was well-suited.

I have been working on a few designs in the past (tables and stools) using turning methods to create a shape. For this project I was keen to look into the concept further to create more of a three-dimensional texture and really show the grain of the timber. 

My general approach to design is to have a clean and simple aesthetic. So I have kept the shape of the pod very basic but I have also explored a more decorative approach by using the scalloping on the sides to add a visual and tactile appeal.

It was important for me to showcase what can be done with solid timber. I wanted my design to be a solid piece but also have a delicate aesthetic.


pictures by Tom Ferguson

The red oak used to make the Emi pods takes 0.12 seconds to grow in the US hardwood forest