One of the most important events on the Australian design calendar, Melbourne Indesign (previously Saturday Indesign) featured some wonderful content, especially from the largest furniture suppliers, and especially by home-grown talent.
CULT featured two impressive launches. The first was Wrong for Hay, featuring a mini-market enticing visitors on the day to buy a piece of the action and hosting a visit by London-based designer and founder of the brand Sebastian Wrong. He spoke on Saturday morning about the origins and aims of the brand, continuing his fostering of emerging design talent as initiated when he was at Established & Sons. “People are buying work not because of the designer name but because it works for them,” he said.
One example was the Hackney Sofa which, unlike most sofas, folds down for easy transportation, especially to small terraces or apartments. Also included in the Wrong for Hay collection is the work of Adelaide design duo Daniel and Emma whose geometric desktop elements are now sold by the brand globally.
More Australian design was celebrated by CULT, which showed the new range by Sydney-based designer Adam Goodrum. The “Goodrum Apartment” showed the extensive range which is being manufactured by CULT – an example of an Australian supplier investing in manufacturing and branding Australian design.
The range includes: Molloy table and chairs, Plum scooped armchairs, Nest side tables, Loom series, Aran suite of armchair, two-seater and bed, and Fat tulip curved armchair and three-seater. The Aran bed, with inbuilt headboard and cushioning, and Plum armchairs with leather upholstery that transitions beautifully into timber legs, were the stand-outs.
At Stylecraft, the focus was once again on Australian design. This supplier-turned-manufacturer presented “Local Talent Time”, featuring new products the Chest collection by Sydney-based designer Greg Natale and the Silhouette table light by Melbourne Ross Gardham.
Their existing Australian design pieces were also included in the exhibit, including additions to Derlot Editions, Keith Melbourne and ESO ranges together with new accessories for the Softscape collection by Melbourne designer Helen Kontouris, and a new lighting release from Touching Space by Tasmanian designer Stuart Williams.
Space Furniture featured Australian design also, this time in the form of two installations designed by Melbourne studio DesignOffice. The Tanqueray Gin Palace featured blonde timber paneling and a dark and moody atmosphere, created in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council, Britton Timbers and Architecture Media.
Another impressive installation was more experiential than anything – Geyer worked in collaboration with Signature Floors at the Galleria to create a spinning wheel where contestants could spin for their chance to win a bottle of champagne, complete with ringmasters in costume, tickets from an old fashioned booth and fantastic graphics.
The overall event is always better the more densely packed the showrooms are and this year the most successful showrooms were in close proximity, with the inclusion of timed events assisting in making the experience more meaningful. But best of all was to see some real money being invested in Australian design by companies that have more commonly looked to Europe for great design content.