Having built a folio of considered, wonderfully executed works between Europe and Australia, industrial designer Tom Fereday established his solo practice in 2012. Advocating honest design, Fereday’s projects share a common thread, upholding the intrinsic quality of the material. Here, the award-winning designer reveals what projects are currently keeping him busy, and gives an insight into the Wes range, shortlisted in the Object – Furniture and Lighting category at this year’s IDEA.
ADR: What led you to a career in design?
Tom: My career in design was somewhat an accident. I went to art college and studied sculpture and fine art, dropping out after three months as I simply lacked direction on what to make or produce. I decided to try my hand at industrial design and it just felt exciting and challenging to try and design an object that solved a real world problem.
What about the current state of Australian design excites or frustrates you?
I think we are in a very exciting time for Australian design and manufacture. I am most excited about the number of new and emerging designers who are developing beautiful designs off their own back and resolving them to the point that they can sell them.
What has been the proudest achievement of your career to date?
My proudest achievement was oddly a 20L pail which you can find in most hardware stores and building sites. This was the first mass-produced Australian made item I designed and allowed me to respect the huge amount of work that goes into even the simplest of product designs.
What is your favourite project from your own body of work and why?
Probably the NT1 microphone designed for Rode Microphones. I want to say one of my recent pieces of furniture but again this was a milestone piece for me from which I learnt so much about design and manufacture. Whilst it is a fairly unassuming product from the outside every element of the products from its patented internal housing to its intricate audio equipment and assembly made it the quietest microphone on the market. This piece allowed me to respect design from the inside out.
Can you give an insight into the design process behind your Wes range?
As with most of the pieces, I work on the Wes range represents a unique collaboration between myself and a manufacturer. I have been working with the SD Element on and off for over 6 years and for me their quality of craftsmanship is what made the collection. The Wes range celebrates Australian made upholstery and showcases this through traditional upholstery processes such as piping whilst offsetting this aesthetically with paired back minimal design.
What are you working on currently, and what are you looking forward to?
I am currently working on an outdoor collection which explores a new manufacturing process for me, wire bending. I am also looking forward to making a one-off design from the beautiful process of glass blowing for an upcoming exhibition with Local Design.
Lead image: Tom Fereday pictured here on a trip to Tasmania for the Dessein Furniture Pieman Collection project with Hydrowood. Photo by Chris Crerar.
To join us for a night of celebration with this year’s winners, click here to secure your discounted Early Bird tickets.
In support of emerging talent with our category sponsor, Zenith, ADR is running a Q&A series with the shortlisted people and practices making up some of the brightest lights on the local design landscape.