Object stories: Hoshi lounge by Tom Skeehan

By Penny Craswell

The new Hoshi range, including lounge, armchair and bench, is the latest work by emerging Canberra-based designer Tom Skeehan, working with furniture supplier Stylecraft. Loosely translating as “star” in Japanese, Hoshi is inspired by the designer’s travels in Japan: “I have personally experienced their deep attraction to materials and process, combined with a rich understanding of how an object is made and the purpose / life cycle of the work.”

Hoshi lounge designed by Tom Skeehan for Stylecraft. Image: supplied
Hoshi lounge designed by Tom Skeehan for Stylecraft. Image: supplied

“Aesthetically, I admire the restraint and often minimal approach to many aspects of Japanese culture,  placing a strong emphasis on the overall process and individual daily ritual,” he adds. Read more

Five designs from Milan (from afar)

By Penny Craswell

This year I’m reporting on the fair from home in Sydney, but thanks to email and social media (hello Instagram), there is plenty filtering through already from the world’s largest furniture design event, the Milan Furniture Fair. Here’s five designs that have instantly caught my attention, from designers near and afar, even before the fair begins.

1. Ross Gardam’s Polar Desk Lamp

Since launching his studio in Melbourne in 2007, Ross Gardam has launched several furniture and lighting pieces and his Polar desk lamp is being shown at Ventura Lambrate in Milan this year. These photos by Haydn Cattach show a variety of colours and backdrops – it will be interesting to see how these translate to different environments.

Polar desk lamp by Ross Gardam. Photo: Haydn Cattach
Polar desk lamp by Ross Gardam. Photo: Haydn Cattach

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Object stories: Carafe Table by Charles Wilson

By Penny Craswell

The Carafe table has a visual and structural complexity to it that is characteristic of the work of Charles Wilson, a Sydney-based designer who worked in close collaboration with Herman Miller over a period of years to complete the project.

Living Edge_Carafe table designed by Charles Wilson for Herman Miller_009-5
Carafe table with drawer designed by Charles Wilson for Herman Miller


The underside features a series of compartments in moulded plywood including open shelves as well as a closed, sliding drawer that opens both ways, sloping inwards to create a geometry that is tucked in under the tabletop. The leg structure spans to the corners of the table, supporting the shelves but visually forming a third layer underneath that is drawn together at the centre in a distinctive T cross-section which Wilson says references industrial structures. Read more

Object stories: Macadamia wood design by Quench

By Penny Craswell

Quench is a group of Queensland-based designers who have been coming together each year for five years to exhibit their work both in Australia and overseas. In 2015, for the first time, the designers of Quench decided to take a more unified approach, deciding on one material – macadamia wood – and one theme – objects relating to food. The result is a series of objects that are handcrafted and beautiful, creating a truly Australian collection that tells a story. The name of the exhibition, which was shown at Tokyo Designers Week in 2015, is “Table Stories”.

Dr Crunch by Marc Harrison for Table Stories. Image: Supplied
Dr Crunch by Marc Harrison for Table Stories. Image: Supplied

For Table Stories, each designer has created a different story to tell. Marc Harrison, known for his Husque tablewares made of processed macadamia shell, has designed a macadamia nut cracker called Dr Crunch. Alexander Lotersztain, an Argentinian-born multi-disciplinary designer working under his brand Derlot, handcrafted Sclpt, a series of four spoons; Jason Bird, who sells furniture and objects under his brand Luxxbox, designed three objects called Vessel; Surya Graf, whose work spans architecture and industrial design, created Hex, a mortal and pestle grinder for fresh spices; and David Shaw, who designs furniture and is founder / director of the Street and Garden Furniture Co, created Prop, a sculptural object for holding hot food as well as a tea candle. Read more

Review: Scented Intoxication exhibition by Lyn and Tony

By Penny Craswell

Lyn Balzer and Tony Perkins are a Sydney-based photography and designer/maker duo with an international sensibility, whose works are nevertheless deeply rooted in Australia. Their new exhibition at Sydney’s Australian Design Centre, called Scented Intoxication, features works made from a range of materials in two simple colours: black and white. But it is scent that is the most extraordinary feature of this exhibition.

Gallery view, Scented Intoxication. Photo: Australian Design Centre
Gallery view, Scented Intoxication. Photo: Supplied by Australian Design Centre

When you enter the exhibition space, it hits you right away, a beautiful, heady perfume that is not sweet or perfume-like in the traditional sense, but is reminiscent of burnt wood or native Australian vegetation or both. Lyn and Tony worked with French-born Australian-based Elise Pioch Balzac of Maison Balzac to create two scents for two scented candles: L’Obscurite (darkness) is a black candle with a scent inspired by one of Lyn and Tony’s photographs of a sea cave in Kiama NSW. Elise interpreted the image in a scent inspired by volcanic rocks using tree resin, birch tar and red cedar. The other scent is L’Etrangete (strangeness), a white candle with a scent inspired by another photograph by Lyn and Tony, this time of a waterfall in a lush rainforest. Elise interpreted this image of sunlight in greenery as a scent with lemon myrtle, native ginger and hemp. Read more

Alexander Lotersztain shows QTZ chair in Milan

Argentinian-born, Brisbane-based designer Alexander Lotersztain of Derlot is exhibiting the QTZ chair at Ventura Lambrate as part of the Milan Furniture Fair this week. With a focus on product design, as well as branding, interior design and art direction, Lotersztain is perhaps best known for high profile projects such as the Limes Hotel in Brisbane, creating work that is personal, branded and translates well internationally, following in the footsteps of designers such as Marc Newson. The QTZ chair is a limited edition collection inspired by the form and materiality of quartz.

QTZ by Derlot. Photography: Florian Groehn
QTZ by Derlot. Photography: Florian Groehn

“This limited edition collection of seating elements reflects the prismatic beauty and semi-precious qualities of what is amongst the Earth’s most abundant minerals,” says Lotersztain. Each QTZ element is available in a range of finishes and is manufactured in stainless steel. Read more

Review: Sydney design shop Urban Couture

By Penny Craswell

Natural materials, Scandinavian design style and a muted palette with a splash of pastel are the signature design markers of Sydney furniture and homewares store Urban Couture. The store is based in Sydney’s Ultimo and was started by stylist Katriarna and her partner Thomas but also sells online and has a pop up in Moore Park’s SupaCenta.

The Lisa Sofa from Urban Couture.
The Lisa Sofa from Urban Couture.

Katriarna and Thomas’s team of creatives is responsible for creating original designs, as well as selecting pieces from Scandinavian and Australian brands, while the website offers a Moodboard function, allowing users to combine various pieces to create a signature look for their interiors project.

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Design writings: Alice Springs studio Elbowrkshp

“James and Elliat have been in Alice for the last 10 years. The move here was inspired by an 11-month camel trek to Broken Hill via the Snowy Mountains, after which they decided to trade in their coastal home for a life in the red centre. When Elbowrkshp launched in April this year, I made it out there to take part in the festivities. Once back in Sydney, I sat down to chat via the technological string that ties our lives together…”

Assemble Papers article on Elbowwrkshp
Assemble Papers article on Elbowwrkshp

This wonderful article by Genevieve Murray for Assemble Papers blog looks at two designers who took the road less travelled – designer Elliat Rich, and bespoke shoemaker James B. Young – who have set up a workshop/retail studio in Alice Springs. Assemble Papers is a blog with some great content on design, art and architecture, all related to small footprint living.

Read the article here.

 

Australian furniture in the driver’s seat at Stylecraft

By Penny Craswell

Australian design is on the rise. Even though we will always have a soft spot for the classics from Denmark or Italy, growing numbers of Australian interior designers and consumers are seeing the value of supporting Australian designers, and Australian retailers are responding to this shift, investing more money in manufacturing collections by local talent.

Blue by Keith Melbourne at Stylecraft
Blue by Keith Melbourne at Stylecraft

Stylecraft is one of those retailers. As reported earlier in the year for Melbourne Indesign, the brand, originally an importer of product from Europe, now has an impressive number of collections created in conjunction with Australian designers. Melbourne-based designer Keith Melbourne is one. A former aerospace and automotive engineer, Keith prefers to work with Australian manufacturers, allowing him to be more involved in the process of production. This approach can be seen in his Blue collection for Stylecraft, a sofa, armchair and ottoman built on the foundations of an environmentally-certified timber and foam shell. Read more

Melbourne designer Nick Rennie talks Ligne Roset

By Penny Craswell

Ligne Roset is one of those furniture brands in Europe with a long history, with roots in 1860s France, where the company was founded selling walking sticks and sunshades. Skip forward to the present day and the 5th generation Roset family are running the company, including Michel Roset who first looked at Melbourne designer Nick Rennie’s profile in 2011.

image44986.tifRoset liked what he saw, in particular the Saldo table, a geometric design in 8mm thick ‘crystal’glass that comes with self adhesive sliders. Within twelve months, the product was launched. Read more