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Above: Casper Vissers. Portrait by Rob Overmeer
In early September, the Space + Moooi 2014 Design Residency was announced. Australian furniture distributor, Space Furniture, has partnered with Dutch furniture company, Moooi, to offer one Australian designer the opportunity to spend two months working with the Moooi team in The Netherlands, under the guidance of Moooi co-founders Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers. Australian Design Review spoke with Moooi CEO Casper Vissers about the competition.
How did discussions about a Space and Moooi design residency begin?
Space Furniture approached us with the idea, which we liked a lot! Though it is often considered secluded or far away, Australia is a creative country with a huge amount of creative talents. This contest should help to show the design industry (not only Moooi) that Australian designers are as talented as those based in Europe. This is something both Space and Moooi are convinced of.
Entries will be shortlisted, and the winner ultimately determined, by a panel including you and Marcel Wanders from Moooi, and Christina Caredes from Space. What will you be looking for in the entries, and how do you expect designers will respond to the brief?
We hope for creations which we always hope for – “the unexpected welcome”.
The residency offers the winning designer the rare opportunity not only to work with you and Marcel Wanders in the Moooi offices in Amsterdam, but also to have their design put into production. It’s a significant commitment from Moooi; do you see this as a risk?
Through the contest, we will choose a winning person with a product [that best meets the brief]. The winner will then come to the Netherlands, [but] not necessarily the winning product. Our commitment is to the quality of the person; the competition-winning product might go in to production, but this is not guaranteed. What we do guarantee is that the design outcome of the residency, after a period of collaboration with our company, will go into production.
The winning designer will come to Holland to work with our team internally. If we have chosen a person with whom we cannot achieve a good product, we have failed in our promise. In my opinion, there is no risk as we will always be able to inspire the winner with the right language to produce a Moooi product before returning to Australia. This is Moooi’s task and this is what makes the contest more interesting.
How important do you think it is for established brands, such as Moooi, to offer programs such as this to emerging designers?
Any company should try to make the pond bigger, to be able to grow more fish. This contest is not so important that we could not live without it, [but] it is a great chance for designers to enjoy the design process. The competition will only really be successful if its creations find their way to the market, and not only the winner’s one. By participating in an event such as this one between Space and Moooi, we create an awareness of our joint passion: to make interiors more beautiful and more unique.
Entries to the Space + Moooi 2014 Design Residency are currently open. All submissions to Stage 1 must be received by 30 October 2013, and shortlisted designers will be announced on Thursday 14 November.
Shortlisted designers will then be required to present to the selection panel in Sydney or Melbourne on 11-12 February 2014, with the eventual winner announced on 13 February 2014. The residency will be held in May-June 2014.
For more information, visit spacefurniture.com.au