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Tuesday marked the first day of IDEA week 2011, with two events kicking off the week’s proceedings in the lead-up to (inside) magazine’s annual awards night, the IDEA Gala Party.
Corporate Culture’s Design Pitch was the second in the busy program – following the lunchtime Sound Bites presentation at Stylecraft. Held at 45 Downstairs on Flinders Lane, Design Pitch gave five designers the opportunity to pitch a recent design to a panel of design industry professionals and the audience, with the winner receiving a return trip to Milan Salone 2012 courtesy of Corporate Culture.
This year’s participants included last year’s winner Henry Pilcher, Kate Stokes, David Walley from Yellow Diva, Adam Cornish and Henry Wilson. Each designer had up to 10 minutes to pitch his/her product to a panel of industry professionals – with the winner decided by audience vote.
On the design panel this year was special guest Jacob Holm, CEO of renowned Danish furniture brand, The Republic of Fritz Hansen. Holm began the evening with a snapshot of the history of Fritz Hansen, which dates back to 1872 and includes successful relationships with celebrated designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, Verner Panton and Jorn Utzon – and also offered an insight into the future direction of the company and its ambitious international outlook.
Also on the panel were Corporate Culture director Richard Munao; Hamish Guthrie, founding director of Hecker Guthrie; Shareen Joel, Founder of Shareen Joel Design; and Ingrid Bakker, managing principal of HASSELL’s Melbourne studio.
This year’s winner, Adam Cornish, presented his Monkey Grip hanging planter. Designed with tight living spaces in mind, the plant pots can be connected in a chain by the curves at their top and base – a linking system inspired by the classic children’s game, Barrel of Monkeys. Made from plastic, the well-resolved design features a water filter at the base to conserve water and an air pocket to ensure the plant roots remain cool. Minimising water wastage, the pots also allow any excess water to flow through the base of one planter and into the centre of the pot beneath it.
Kate Stokes pitched the Mr Cooper light, a spun copper pendant light inspired by the form of the tin-can telephone invented in the seventeenth century by Robert Hooke. The piece was produced following Stokes’ experience with New York designers Rich Brilliant Willing, and gives a nostalgic nod to a bygone era.
Henry Wilson, meanwhile, pitched his concept for a ‘new’ Anglepoise. Questioning the role of the designer in an already saturated design market, Wilson’s proposition was to modify an existing design classic to suit contemporary lighting developments. His two modified Anglepoise lights featured a transparent lampshade – a purely aesthetic addition surrounding a focused LED light, and a ceramic lampshade – diffusing the harsh glow of a brighter LED bulb.
Other pitches included Henry Pilcher’s SamSam coat rack, a simple, functional and easily assembled piece made from five timber dowels held in place with two metal discs; and David Walley’s MileStone, a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Castiglioni Arco lamp designed for Flos. Walley’s piece features a base made from locally sourced bluestone – inscribed, like a milestone, with the distances from Melbourne to London and New York – and an industrial pendant, suspended from a timber frame.
Adam Cornish was announced the winner by audience vote at the end of the evening, and will be travelling to Milan Salone 2012 next year courtesy of Corporate Culture. We wish Adam well in Milan next year, and our thanks to all of the designers who participated in this year’s event.
Design Pitch is part of IDEA week 2011. For more information, visit www.idea-awards.com.au