Inaugural Beacon Lighting Award to be announced at VIVID

Jun 24, 2014
  • Article by Online Editor

This year VIVID celebrates its 12th anniversary as part of Décor + Design and now has Beacon Lighting as a new partner. Beacon will offer a $5000 prize to the winner of the inaugural Beacon Lighting Award.

Other VIVID categories include student, concept, commercial and sustainability.

All of the VIVID finalists will be on display during Décor + Design at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 10 to 13 July.

“Beacon Lighting has a key focus on delivering the latest design trends from all over the world to the Australian market,” says senior category buyer and lighting designer, Scott Robinson.

“Through our travels and trend spotting, we have come across great designs from emerging Australian designers. Through a collaborative approach, we would like to help young designers and artists in producing and bring their designs to market.”

Conversation • 5 comments

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25 Jun 14 at 3:40 PM • Steve Curran

Really? Is Beacon the sort of company the design community wants to associate with? They offer a number of luminaires in their catalogue that deliver “the latest design trends from all over the world to the Australian market”. These luminaires are clearly unauthorised replications of designs by others, but manufactured to sell at a more affordable price. And now they are seeking some kind of credibility as supporters of innovative Australian design? Who do we crawl into bed with next–Matt Blatt?

25 Jun 14 at 6:06 PM • John Peters

I concur with you Steve. Vivid as a platform is good, unfortunately it sits in an awful event that is full of replica rubbish and is not a reflection of strong design culture.

25 Jun 14 at 10:46 PM • Anna

My initial response was similar.

But… What good are we doing if we only design expensive stuff for rich people?

(I should say, I totally support everyone involved in the production of an object getting paid fairly for their work. Though I seriously doubt that much of the cost of a lot of original pieces actually goes to either the designer or the fabricator.)

I’ve always found the Eames an interesting and complicated example of this quandary. Their philosophy was one of bringing design to the masses, but original Eames pieces are pretty expensive, and some of the replicas are pretty good quality…

26 Jun 14 at 10:41 PM • Steve Curran

Response to Anna June:

There is plenty of original, affordable design in the world. In fact, there is a bewildering–and perhaps even disturbing–surfeit of choice. One could argue that we don’t need further aesthetic options, but more true innovation–and what’s more, innovation that solves pressing environmental and social problems. Apart from the need for more efficient lighting, all our genuine lighting needs are more than met already. With regard to chairs, designers have ensured that our backsides are also well catered for.

Whether replicas are good quality or not, no designer should be defending them as an option. The 19th century socialist ideal that quality goods should be affordable to all was noble, but in hindsight we can now see that this naïve ideal has brought the greatest benefit to corporations. We are now awash in trendy, throwaway, affordable furnishings. The consumer places little value on the things they’ve acquired, because they paid very little for them. Any designer that worked their entire careers to achieve this aim must accept some responsibility for the current mess.

23 Jul 14 at 6:18 AM • Kent Gration

Hi Anna,

Just to correct your point, the connotation of original, well designed and well made furniture being ‘expensive stuff for rich people’ is a misconception. It’s a case of re-establishing the true cost of what furniture should be based upon a ratio of production costs/material costs/design fees etc and paying the true value for these products – locally made and designed is best.

Due to the cheap commodifying and replication of furniture and lighting, people expect a seat for example to cost $25. Consumer’s price point perception has changed radically over the past few decades and so has the notion of throw-away design. If we pay $25 for 10 seats ($250 total), we’re more likely to through away those 10 seats than a single seat that cost $250, because of our value perception. Therefore the consumer has a duty-of-care to make sure that they are making an ethical choice in terms of supporting the local market.

Another contributing factor is the saturation of imported furniture, with a major price component being freight combined with retail mark-ups in the vicinity of 100%+. The problem with the high-end market is that it is very Euro-centric and you pay for the privilege. Australian design has evolved to become as good as, if not better than imported high-end offerings, therefore it’s best to buy directly from local designers, as this will ensure that you’re supporting the local industry, buying original designs and contributing a greater amount of investment back into local R&D.

Ultimately the government must step in to protect local designers and makers, through better IP legislation and enforcement, tariffs and working with consumers to create better education and awareness regarding the local industry, so that local studios aren’t competing against imported designer knock-offs.


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