Winners: Royal Doulton UNSW Art and Design Award

By Penny Craswell

I was delighted to be asked to judge the Royal Doulton UNSW Art and Design Award last month, in which students re-imagined Royal Doulton’s future in a collection of homeware and interior objects. The work was fantastically varied, with some students focusing on ceramics, some on metal, graphic design, textiles and other specialisations. The collections were inspired by the geometry found in nature, with prototypes supported by designs for retail display and point of sale, product packaging and Royal Doulton brand identity collateral. Each student also made a video about their entry, and there were some really creative responses – we almost wished we could give awards just for the videos.

Ripples by Joseph Turin, winner of the Royal Doulton UNSW Art and Design Award 2016. Image: supplied
Ripples by Joseph Turrin, winner of the Royal Doulton UNSW Art and Design Award 2016. Image: supplied
The winner was Ripples by Joseph Turrin, a series of ceramic pieces with patterns from nature created by painting, then sponging off the clay around it. The other three finalists were Phase by Annie Kuang, a teapot and cup set with a simple and clever geometry based on the atoms in a H2O molecule, Vessels for Change by Tulla Carson, a set of vases that featured markings based on the points of a map of Sydney, and River by Sherli Liu, a tea set with shapes reminiscent of architecture set on a timber board with moving elements inspired by the motion of water in a river. Read more

Notes from a design writer in residence

By Penny Craswell

An opportunity to work three days a week from the Australian Design Centre as a writer in residence has given me insight into the organisation’s role in Sydney’s craft and design community, and made me think in new ways about my own role in this community.

Australian Design Centre office, designed by Those Architects
Australian Design Centre office, designed by Those Architects

The Australian Design Centre has been around for decades, first called Craft NSW then Object, before being rebranded last year as part of a move to new premises in William Street. Primarily known for exhibiting a range of work by Australian designers and craft practitioners across a range of themes, some of which go on to tour around Australia, the ADC also holds regular talks and other events, sells work by local makers in their shop, produces educational resources and has a vital role connecting the design community and advocating for design. Read more

Top 10: Ethical design gift guide

By Penny Craswell

Design isn’t just about aesthetics, and to prove it, this ethical gift guide lists a few of the many designers and brands now donating to charity or committed to ethical practices. So, read on, this is your chance to give back this holiday season – not just to families and friends, but also to those in need.

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The Pretty Fly pin by Annie Hamilton. Photo: supplied


1. Increasingly, community-minded makers and sellers are donating a portion of their profits to charities. Sydney-based multi-disciplinary designer Annie Hamilton donates 10% of sales from her pins and art prints to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre to help support and empower people seeking asylum in Australia. With a focus on insects and patterns inspired by plants, including the Pretty Fly enamel pin set consisting of venus fly trap and matching fly, Hamilton’s work also includes clothing and scarves, made locally and ethically in Sydney by a small team of makers in Redfern. Read more

Review: Out of Hand exhibition

By Penny Craswell

‘Out of Hand’ is a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum that explores how digital technology is enabling new materials, processes and objects. It features more than 60 works by architects, designers, fashion designers and artists from around the world, with many focusing on new uses for cutting-edge digital design, scanning and printing technologies.

Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
‘Who This Am’ by Kijin Park (left). Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts

One of the most impressive aspects of ‘Out of Hand’ is the exhibition design by LAVA. The architecture studio won a competition to design the space, which consists of a series of curving pure white forms in vertical bands that flow through the space, creating walls, plinths and sculptural forms.  Read more

Marlu (kangaroo) furniture by Nicole Monks

By Penny Craswell

Marlu (kangaroo) is a new range of furniture by Indigenous Australian designer Nicole Monks that draws on her rich cultural heritage in a highly crafted, bespoke series of design furniture pieces that are profoundly Australian. (See my previous article on Lucy Simpson and Nicole Monks)

Nyinajimanha (sitting together) stool and table with kangaroo skin by Nicole Monks. Photo: Boaz Nothman
Nyinajimanha (sitting together) stool and table with kangaroo skin by Nicole Monks. Photo: Boaz Nothman

Launched at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney last week, the range features three seating elements: ‘wabarn-wabarn’ (bounce) inspired by the movement of a kangaroo, ‘walarnu’ (boomerang) inspired by the shape of the boomerang used to hunt the kangaroo and ‘nyinajimanha’ (Sitting Together) inspired by the gathering around a table or camp fire to eat kangaroo tail stew. Read more

Memphis: Avant-garde and the celebrity designer

By Penny Craswell

The news that David Bowie was a big collector of Memphis (over 100 items will go on auction at Sotheby’s in London on 11 November) makes sense – both were on the cutting edge of style in the 1980s and there is a little something of Ziggy Stardust in many of the designs.

Metropole clock, Memphis, designed by George J. Sowden, 1982
Metropole clock, Memphis, designed by George J. Sowden, 1982

Reflecting on Memphis, the Milan-based collective led by Ettore Sottsass that launched onto the international design stage in 1981, it is interesting to note its place in design history.  Read more

Concrete photography by Rhiannon Slatter

By Penny Craswell

Melbourne-based architectural photographer Rhiannon Slatter recently held exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney of her artworks exploring concrete. The works form a series that moves between architectural photography and abstract photography, presenting concrete buildings as intersecting planes in shades of grey.

Concrete 01, Rhiannon Slatter, pigment ink on cotton rag
Concrete 01, Rhiannon Slatter, pigment ink on cotton rag

Many commercial architectural photographers also have an art practice, allowing them to create work for themselves rather than a client. This freedom brings with it a chance to experiment, not only with methodology, but also with new conceptual frameworks that can ultimately benefit the artist’s body of work as a whole.  Read more

OK Ice Cube installation at Seattle Design Festival

By Penny Craswell

Seattle-based architecture practice Olson Kundig (OK) created an ephemeral installation in Occidental Park as part of the Seattle Design Festival last month: a 10-tonne ice cube that slowly melted in the sun.

Ice Cube by Olsen Kundig as part of Seattle Design Festival. Photo: Eirik Johnson
Ice Cube by Olson Kundig as part of Seattle Design Festival. Photo: Eirik Johnson

The piece acts as a statement raising environmental awareness, providing visitors with a tangible metaphor for the melting ice caps, “marking the passage of time as its waters slowly return to the sea,” according to the architects, as well as “showcasing the stages of the natural water cycle as the ice shifts from opaque to translucent”. Read more

Review: SFMOMA extension by Snøhetta

By Penny Craswell

The new extension of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta presents a soaring, monumental face, despite the challenges of a restrained site. Spanning over 10 floors, the new extension nearly triples the exhibition space of the museum, creating white, light-filled gallery spaces connected by wide timber stairs.

SFMOMA façade of Snøhetta expansion; photo © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMASFMOMA façade of Snøhetta expansion; photo © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA
SFMOMA facade of Snøhetta expansion. Photo © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA

 

The old and new interiors are seamlessly integrated, with the new extension appearing to hug the side of the existing building, a series of brick-clad symmetrical volumes designed in 1995 by Mario Botta. In contrast to the bold, regular forms of the Botta building, the new design is introverted, expanding into the space but with its outer peripheries pinned back, clad in a white, rippling facade. Read more

Review: Little Creatures Hong Kong

By Penny Craswell

Little Creatures is the latest Hong Kong restaurant by Charlie & Rose, a Hong Kong-based creative studio led by Australian designer Ben McCarthy. The venue is the first Little Creatures outside of Australia and is situated in Kennedy Town, where the cuisines range from seafood to Italian, to Mexican-Japanese fusion, all situated within a stone’s throw of Hong Kong Harbour.

Front facade of Little Creatures Hong Kong by Charlie & Rose. More on The Design Writer blog
Front facade of Little Creatures Hong Kong by Charlie & Rose. Image: supplied

 

Previously a warehouse space, the restaurant interior retains some of the original’s industrial grunge, overlaid with blonde timber joinery, bespoke furniture and some big, decorative red pipes that run through the space. Part of the brief was to create facilities for an on-site brewery and the gleaming metal brewing equipment takes pride of place behind the bar. Read more