Top Ten – Design:Made:Trade

Jul 21, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Domingo Antonio Robledo
  • Designer

The Design:Made:Trade exhibition at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building played host to the official launch of the State of Design Festival on Wednesday 20 July. The four-day event is pitched as a “boutique event showcasing Australian and international design culture”, and as such is less like a trade show, and more like a design fair. There are over 70 exhibitors this year, with a big emphasis on hand-crafted objects including fashion and textiles, lighting, graphic design, ceramics, product and industrial design.We did the rounds on Wednesday night and have hand-picked our ‘top ten’ selection of stands that we think are worth a visit at Design:Made:Trade.

Kristian Aus & Toby Horrocks
Kristian and Toby, who last year collaborated on a cardboard installation project for State of Design’s Look. Stop. Shop series, are this year showcasing a collection of strong new designs at Design:Made:Trade. Toby’s Freefold furniture pieces, smart storage objects crafted from cardboard, are on show together with two models of recent display pieces he designed; while Kristian is presenting five creations from his new brand, Under – including the colourful Metal, Facet and Hut Pendant Lights, and the Triangulate and Dottie Coat Racks.

James Hargraves
Lighting designer James Hargraves trained in mechanical engineering before turning his hand to industrial design. His delicate, sculptural pendant lights are produced using a marriage of computer modelling techniques and handicraft. The large pendants are hand-woven from paper-thin sheets of polypropylene, making them lightweight despite their size. Digital design techniques are used to create each light’s surface topography, with each strip cut according to the digital model. James then weaves each strip together by hand and attaches them to a steel frame.

Ari Prasetya
Young and resourceful, the furniture designs presented by Ari Prasetya were standout and notable in their own right. Even if it’s become a slightly familiar look (think Greg Hatton meets Edwards Moore’s Offcut Stool), the trend for reusing waste materials and upcycling is one we can embrace. Regardless of what’s been done before, Prasetya’s pieces feature a bit more refinement and some significant detailing. The offcut stool has a ‘twig handle’ addition, and the coffee table on wheels seems ideal for the patio or beach house environment.

Gaawaa Miyay
Of all the people we met and talked with last night, Lucy Simpson shared her concept and products with us exuding the subtlest sense of conviction in her work. Inspired by the folk tales of her Aboriginal culture, rooted in the Yuwaalaraay country of northwest NSW, she has taken her family’s stories and translated them into stunning textile designs and print patterns. With a new focus and contemporary objective, she shares her cross-cultural message with an amazing group of designers and makers, all of which collaborate with her to realise her stories via design and object.

There are plenty of familiar pieces on show at Sarah and Nick’s stand this year, including the well-known Butter Stool and Bench, Corro Bowl, Posy Vase and the Dorothy light. Their latest design however, the TomTom Letterbox, marks an exciting new direction for DesignByThem. The piece is the first collaboration with another Australian designer –Tommy Cehak – and signals a promising turning point in the growth of the company, which is striving to become a collective of local designers.

David Knott
Sydney designer David Knott is showing the prototype for his new Tubular Shelves, an adaptable shelving unit with a set of basic elements (timber shelves supported by a series of curving steel tubes) that can be configured according to the user’s needs. Also on show is the cantilevered candelabra, Cantilabra, a design David presented at the IDEA Design Pitch last year and a piece that was shortlisted for the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award 2010; along with the Dracaena Pendant, the 036 Pendant and the Lotus Pendant.

Jam Factory
This year, it’s good to see some of our South Australian neighbours present at State of Design. Ambassador Tom Mirams, creative director of Jam Factory, was in full force, boasting some of Adelaide’s finest designs and handcrafted goods. One particular standout was the colourful range of KINK oil bottles, designed by Deb Jones and each handmade by the Glass Studio in Adelaide. With a slight bend, or ‘kink’, to each piece of blown glass, the bottles add a sculptural and charming accent to the kitchen shelf.

Dairing Studio Designs
Of the more craft-oriented exhibitors at Design:Made:Trade, Dairing Studio Designs present a very distinctive quality with their hand-knitted works. As you walk by, the knitwear and throw blankets hanging from the walls temp you to stop and touch. Pinned to the wall, the structure of each fabric becomes a delicate wall sculpture. One piece pinned up is made of loose-knitted Rayon, or as they call it an ‘aqueous dispersion of plasticised polyvinyl acetate’… It certainly looks simpler than it sounds, but that’s also part of the charm.

Chapman & Bailey: Sow’s Ear Challenge
Chapman & Bailey and (inside) magazine have revealed the winner of their design competition, the Sow’s Ear Challenge, at Design:Made:Trade. The winning design, Hooped Light designed by Hayley Anne Brown, is a delicate pendant made from over 700 pieces of timber off-cuts. Two version of the light have been carefully made by Chapman & Bailey, along with a huge tree structure – also made from timber offcuts. Embracing sustainable design, the competition’s objective was to craft a beautiful object from waste materials – even the stand at Design:Made:Trade has been constructed using timber pallets.

Leah Jackson
The odd sculptural formations and idea that embodies ‘The Weight of Smoke’ is a lovely collection of white porcelain that also stands out at Design:Made:Trade this year. The concept isn’t meant to boggle the brain, but perhaps adds to the allure: ceramics inspired by the freedom of smoke. Delicate in presence and beautifully handcrafted, each piece of the collection (including vases, a short and tall pour and a few short cups) is detailed with a gloss on the interior and soft matte/frost on the exterior – all of which is imprinted with Jackson’s own personal touch.

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