This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch of Dowel Jones

Studio Visit

Around 18 months ago we first ran a story on Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch, the two talented young Melbourne designers behind design studio Dowel Jones. At that time, the boys were 22 and 24 respectively, with bright futures ahead!

Less than two years later, Dowel Jones have firmly established their place in Melbourne’s design scene, with a seriously impressive range of product to their name, and an admirable commitment to local manufacturing.

29th January, 2016

Hurdle chair production line! Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Details from the North Fitzroy HQ of Dowel Jones. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Dowel Jones stationery and desk range. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Dowel Jones studio details. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Dowel Jones studio details. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Hurdle chair by Dowel Jones being assembled in their HQ. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Studio details. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Adam Lynch and Dale Hardiman of Dowel Jones in their North Fitzroy studio. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Dowel Jones studio details. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Adam Lynch busy working in the studio. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 29th January 2016

Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch met while studying Furniture Design at RMIT, going on to do Honours in Industrial Design together. The pair became firm friends and collaborators during their studies, and in their third year of Industrial Design, decided to launch a company together, founded initially with one key product – their distinctive Mr. Dowel Jones lamp.

Since then, a number of new furniture and lighting products have joined the Dowel Jones line up, alongside a popular capsule collection of desk accessories. Dale and Adam have shown their products in Milan, their furniture and lighting has found itself shipped all over the country for various interior design projects, and they’ve hired three part time staff!

Dale and Adam have a refreshingly utilitarian approach to all that they create – they’re conscious of keeping their pricing accessible, whilst also maintaining a staunch commitment to manufacturing in Melbourne. ‘Dowel Jones doesn’t produce exclusive items or luxury products, the company is based around producing everyday furniture and objects’ says Dale.

Having recently relocated from humble digs in Thomastown to a bigger studio in Fitzroy North, we thought it was about time we revisited this industrious creative duo!

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds – what did each of you study, and what path led you to launching Dowel Jones?

We both studied studied the Associate Degree in Design (Furniture) at RMIT, then went on to do our honours in Industrial Design also at RMIT. We launched Dowel Jones together in 2013 as an extension of a design collective called LAB DE STU formed in 2011 during our second year of university.

During our third year in Industrial Design at RMIT we chose the same elective, and decided to collaborate on a product. After a successful collaboration (the product being our Mr. Dowel Jones light) we decided to form a company based around the dynamic between the two of us, with a focus on everyday furniture and objects.

How would you describe your work, and what influences your distinctive aesthetic?

The way we design for Dowel Jones is really informed by the manufacturers we work with. Dowel Jones doesn’t produce exclusive items or luxury products, the company is based around producing everyday furniture and objects, therefore our immediate focus is on function, with the aesthetics being stripped back to their minimum.

Every project, product, commission or photo shoot is always informed by the last experience and what we’ve learnt from it. Our aesthetic is building as we develop both as individual designers and also as a brand.

Can you give us a little insight into the inner workings of your business and creative process? How do you manage the day-to-day side of the business, how many people do you employ, what particular jobs do you do in-house and which do you outsource?

We are fairly sporadic when it comes to the release of new products. We still try to focus as much as we can on the actual creation and development of new things, but the focus is usually on managing existing projects.

We used to manufacture a large majority of our products in-house, but decided to begin outsourcing so we could focus our efforts elsewhere. Now the work we do in-house is prominently just the assembling and packing of the products.

We have three part-timers at the moment. At lot of the people who come and work for us are either furniture design or industrial design students at RMIT.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Our days are never usually the same, Adam and myself both run several other projects, so at various points in the day we’ll have meetings and/or take phone calls for those projects. As we’re self-employed it gives us the flexibility to work on several things at once.

We usually get into the workshop around 8.00am, with staff starting around 9.00am. We sit down and look over e-mails for the first hour or so, before booking any couriers or trucks for the day. Throughout the end of last year we started listening to music from different countries, we’ve been listening to Colombian, Korean and African music in the studio recently.

At lunch time we might go for a walk down into Clifton Hill for lunch, while stopping off at the post office if we need to post any of our mousepads or smaller items. We work on various custom projects for clients, so we might speak about this over lunch.

Adam might drive to the powder coaters after lunch to collect any items that are ready for collection, while I sit on the laptop (in summer usually in front of a fan!), organising any digital content or speaking with manufacturers for the remainder of the day.

We sometimes get the pleasure of leaving at 5.00pm, but when we are working on large projects this might require us to stay much later. We work on projects outside of Australia too, so throughout the night after work, Adam and I will usually speak once or twice on the phone.

Adam and I will both go back to our own houses and most likely continue working on our other projects.

Usually the best parts of our day are when we leave the workshop to go out and meet other designers, architects and interior designers!

What have been one or two favourite recent projects or commissions?

Adam: The Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar, we supplied custom powder coated Hurdle High stool, Hurdle low stools and Half Hurdle with the interior by Matt Woods.

Dale: Hooked Up – collaborating with one of our ex-students to develop this product, then collaborating with Nat Turnbull and Elise Wilken for the styled images.

Which other Australian designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?

Sibling: Since reading about their Sleeping Pods project in 2012 we’ve been big fans of their work

Tin&Ed (and not just because their studio floor is pink!): Their recent project with Cut Copy and Bomba Bar for Sugar Mountain Festival looked incredible.

Anchor Ceramics: We’ve only met Bruce once but he was very kind, his most recent wall lights display incredible consideration and dedication to a material.

Can you list for us your top resources across any media that you turn to when you’re in a need of creative inspiration?

Design Matters podcast: We’re currently listening to Martha Stewart’s stylist Fritz Karch talk about how winning the lottery is probably easier than becoming a famous artist.

Apartamento Magazine: Short stories and conversations with creatives that we would never naturally come across. For instance we just read an interview with a world famous hairdresser!

Sight Unseen: Monica and Jill have been interviewing designers and presenting work over the past 8 years that wasn’t being shown anywhere else!

What has been your proudest career achievement to date?

We both have had very proud career achievements, such as exhibiting the Mr. Dowel Jones lamp on the design wall at the NGV for Melbourne Now (alongside classics such as the Sherrin football and the Melbourne tram handle), but I think the proudest moments for us are when we walk into a cafe and we see our furniture being used!

What would be your dream creative project?

We’re just about to launch a new project with a Sydney-based manufacturer, and this was pretty close to a dream creative project. Instead of managing all elements and prototyping the product ourselves, we had the great pleasure of working purely on the product and then the styled photo shoot!

What are you looking forward to?

More indoor plants in the studio, and the potential one day to paint our workshop floor pink!

MELBOURNE QUESTIONS

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why?

It used to be Coburg/East Brunswick, but having a studio in Fitzroy North means we’ve been spending a lot more time walking along High Street, Northcote, and we’re particularly in love with Terra Madre.

What and where was the best meal you recently had in Melbourne?

Adam: Gazi. It was great!

Dale: Phamily Kitchen. Michael Pham was an exceptional host.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

Adam: Surfing somewhere down the coast.

Dale: A1 Bakery or Zaatar.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Balha’s Pastry on Sydney Road and buying baklava by the kilogram in a two-storey paradise with a chandelier.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Inside the Coburg North workshop of Brigitte Owers-Buccianti, aka Real Non-Real!

Shopping

Nau Releases 2021 Australian-Made Furniture Collection

Cult’s in-house Australian-made furniture and lighting brand Nau releases its latest collection.

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards!

This Week

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Trailblazing Curator, Shonae Hobson

Inside the day of Kaantju woman and curator of Indigenous art at the NGV, Shonae Hobson!

Architecture

A Classic Victorian Terrace, Reimagined As Three Light-Filled Pavilions

A series of mews-like buildings designed by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design have expanded this Fitzroy home for added light, air and space...
Amelia Barnes
  Less than an hour ago

Architecture

A Minimal Intervention Weatherboard Home Makeover

A Seddon weatherboard renovation by Circle Studio Architects that doesn’t erase its past, but firmly enhances its future.

Architecture

A Traditional Queenslander Turned Multigenerational, Japanese-Inspired Home

Arcke architects lifted this Queenslander to accommodate a two-bedroom apartment underneath, and provide better connections to the outdoors

News

Melbourne's Futuristic New Gallery For Art + Science

Excitement is high – the latest museum in the international Science Gallery Network opens in Melbourne today!
Sponsored

Words From The Wise

Pushing Against The Status Quo As A Creative Professional, With Designer Timothy Moore

Sibling Architecture director and co-founder Timothy Moore shares refreshing advice about embarking on a career in architecture and design -...
Haroula Karapanagiotidis

Family

Artist Miranda Skoczek On Single Parenting, Smelling The Roses + Spontaneity

Artist Miranda Skoczek shares her multigenerational family life in the Dandenongs with son Harper and aunt Margaret.

Homes

The Experimental Melbourne Home Of Two Artists

The 'warped maximalist colour feast' home of artists Nabilah Nordin and Nick Modrzewski in Newport, Melbourne.

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Brigitte Owers-Buccianti is the designer behind Real Non-Real, an exciting new practice making multi-functional furniture pieces.

Stays

Stay Off-Grid In A Tiny House, Or Restored 1890s Hut, On The One NSW Property!

Escape to one of two tiny houses or a restored 1890 hut at Wildernest, located on the edge of the NSW Southern Highlands.

News

Save Soho Rose Farm!

Donate to help save Victoria’s most beautiful field-grown roses, after a devastating hail storm. 

Shopping

The Ultimate Outdoor Furniture Guide

From sleek and chic to fun and playful, here are four different schemes for the outdoor dining situation of your dreams!

Homes

An Incredible 1896 Waterfront House, Accessible Only By Boat

Garden designer Richard Unsworth shares ‘Trincomalee’ – his magical 1896 waterfront home in northern Sydney, accessible only by boat.
Lucy Feagins
  24 hours ago

On The Market

The Perfect Mid-Century, NSW South Coast Beach House Is For Sale

This mid-century Mollymook Beach house is perfect in its proportions, feel and water views... and it's on the market!

News

WIN A One-Of-A-Kind Artwork By Local Artist Dave Kulesza - aka Boris Bombay!

Bombay Sapphire are giving away a nostalgia-fuelled, pop art-esque tiled artwork by Boris Bombay (aka Dave Kulesza) to one lucky winner!
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Graduate Designer Pushing The Limits Of Traditional Furniture Design

Inside the Coburg North workshop of Brigitte Owers-Buccianti, aka Real Non-Real!

Shopping

Nau Releases 2021 Australian-Made Furniture Collection

Cult’s in-house Australian-made furniture and lighting brand Nau releases its latest collection.

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards!

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.