Richard Munao founded Cult (formerly Corporate Culture) in 1997 with the goal to supply Australian designers with the very best furniture and products from local and overseas manufacturers. For almost two decades Richard and his team have been an advocate for quality, authentic design. Here he talks to us about the evolution of Cult and his global commitment to collaboration.
1.Cult is renowned for supplying Australian consumers with the very best Australian and European furniture. Why is authentic, original design so important?
Authentic, original design is important in many ways. Most original and authentic pieces have a greater life span than ‘replica furniture’ which is a more long term, sustainable option for our environment. Authenticity rewards the original designer with income through the sales of the product they designed and it encourages all designers to innovate. It also takes courage and generally a large investment for the designers and manufacturers of original designs to bring products to market; for as many products that are successful there are products that do not succeed. To me it seems criminal that one can sit on the fence and wait for an original to sell and then copy it; essentially this is theft of intellectual property. Innovation makes our society a better place and many businesses we work with place a high value on innovation in their own business. Another example of innovation in our world is the phenomenal advances made in technology in even the last 5 years, and the value we as a society places on this.
2. What is your proudest project achievement to date and how has it transformed the world around us?
My proudest achievement was being awarded the Diploma of the Danish Export Association and HRH Prince Henrik’s Medal of Honour, presented by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in our newly completed showroom in Melbourne in 2011.
I am also extremely proud of Cult’s ongoing commitment to Australian design and designers. Just recently in Brisbane an architect shared with me what a great showroom he thought we had and how important it was that our company shared his business’s passion for the built environment. Through this he and his team strongly believe that we are helping increase awareness of how great design can make Queensland a better state.
3. How do you encourage creative thinking at Cult?
I encourage an open dialogue and empower the team. This empowerment and trust has seen our team deliver extraordinary results; from the events we host to the presentation of our showrooms. The team recently came to me with an idea for reorganising the company structure – this has led to significant improvements and allowed us to take the business to even greater heights. We collaboratively brainstorm ideas and projects and then once we have an agreed way forward, the team deliver the idea or project.
4. What is the overarching common goal driving Cult?
Cult (Formerly Corporate Culture) has a clear vision to be a market leader both in terms of product offering and service. Our team works tirelessly to deliver our common goal. Cult is focussed on maintaining and growing our corporate business whilst becoming a major player in the consumer market. Our people are all passionate about the role they play in delivering this common goal.
5.What are your thoughts on technology in your industry – is it an enabler or an inhibitor?
I believe it is an enabler. We consistently use technology to streamline our business and to deliver on our vision to provide our clients with the best service possible.
6. In three words describe your vision for the future of the built environment.
Sophisticated, authentic, flexible.