A gift from grandad

THE former Lauder and Howard Antiques on Blinco Street in Fremantle east has been transformed into an incubator for emerging artists.

Rooms that were once crowded with high-end antiques are now minimalist art spaces with stunning modern furniture, many designed by owner Norbert Perrine.

He wants “Blinc & Co” to be an exciting creative environment for emerging artists and along with exhibition space there’s a series of studios.

Photos supplied

Originally from Mauritius, Perrine grew up in Australia and established a successful fashion label in Oceania and Europe.

The clothes were manufactured in Asia, but his father didn’t like it.

“My father challenged me to make them in Mauritius,” he says. “I said  ‘It’s just sugar cane’.”

Perrine rose to the challenge and moved back to his homeland, but somewhere along the line he met his life partner and returned to Perth to start a family.

And so began another phase of his designing life; this time houses. “If you have the designing gene you can design anything. It’s in the DNA, a gift from my grandfather Pierre Laurent.”

His Mauritian granddad earned an OBE in the ‘50s for services to the fashion industry and setting up orphanages.

And an uncle was the country’s deputy prime minister.

Perrine’s clients started asking him to do the interior design for the houses he created, so he began making funky furniture based on Scandinavian designs from the ‘50s and ‘60s and opened an outlet in Mosman Park.

The business did well, but making bespoke furniture became too time consuming.

“Furniture took too much of my time, it was demanding and other designing aspects became more and more important,” he says.

His latest project Blinc & Co is a chance for emerging artists to create and display their work, and there are also plans for exhibitions of established artists, like Ben Juniper.

“I’m [also] strong on having indigenous artists,” Perrine says.

by JENNY D’ANGER

Blinc & Co
17 Blinco Street, Fremantle
0402 440 412
open Mon–Fri 11am–5pm,
Sat/Sun 10am–3pm

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