Canberra based designer Tom Skeehan of SKEEHAN studio specialises in commercial furniture, lighting and product design. It’s all designed by Tom and his small team, and manufactured by a network of local manufacturers who Tom works with closely.
Having been exposed to the world of furniture making from a young age through his father, Vince Skeehan, a cabinet maker, Tom fondly recalls childhood memories of learning to draw cubes and make his own wooden toys.
After studying Arts and design at Canberra Institute of Technology, Tom began working for furniture designer Craig Harris, who had completed his masters in Tasmania and was running a furniture studio in Fyshwick just outside of Canberra. Craig quickly became an influential mentor to Tom, and under his guidance, Tom was inspired to establish his own furniture design studio.
Amongst Tom’s greatest influences are Japanese Designer Naoto Fukasawa and Architect Tadao Ando. ‘They have a very honest design approach, and really consider the purpose of a project and the materials used’ Tom explains. In his own work, Tom aspires to a similar philosophy. ‘I want to design furniture that has a purpose and a strong material narrative’ he says.
Having recently taken on a massive new studio space, and with a number of projects currently in development, Tom is infectiously enthusiastic about the future. ‘I think it is a great time to be an Australian designer’ he says. ‘We have a very supportive local industry that is genuinely supporting Australian design’. He hopes 2017 will bring more opportunities to continue working his key national stockist, Stylecraft, to exhibit his work in Milan and New York later in the year, and to continue to build on his all important relationships with local manufacturers.