Studio Visit

The Studio Assistant Every Designer Needs

We spend a lot of time snooping around the studios of talented Australian creatives, and we’ve noticed there’s often a four-legged friend in residence!

Melbourne designer Adam Cornish is a cat person. In celebration of Pet Adoption Day this Sunday, we visit Adam in his Collingwood studio and meet Billy, his furry studio pal and trusted prototype-tester!

Elle Murrell

‘He doesn’t like to sit on your lap, but he is always in close proximity, and will often lay on my desk as I work,’ says designer Adam Cornish of his rescue pet Billy.  Photo – Eugene Hyland.

‘The palette of simple, tactile materials were chosen for their ability to age well and add to the character of the chair as the years go by,’ says Adam of his Strand Chair for NAU. Photo – Charlie White.

‘We wanted to create a strong yet quaint aesthetic, something that is elegant without being overbearing.’ Photo – Charlie White.

‘I think it is important to not take the decision lightly and realise that the pet is a responsibility that doesn’t stop when you leave the studio,’ says Adam. ‘We are fortunate as we live and work in the same building, so the relationship works out nicely.’ Photo – Eugene Hyland.

Elle Murrell
2nd of February 2018

A clever creative is always hunting for good feedback. For Melbourne-based designer Adam Cornish of Adam Cornish Design, the definitive seal of approval comes from his beloved rescue pet, Billy.

Adam adopted a determined little eight-week-old kitten back in 2009 from Lort Smith Animal Hospital, and Billy has been the designer’s shadow ever since. ‘The process was really easy and included all the necessities as far as vaccinations and de-sexing,’ recalls Adam. ‘The hardest part by far is choosing, unfortunately, there are often many dogs and cats waiting to be adopted. Thankfully for us, Billy made it easy; I was looking at the cat above him and, when I went to walk away, I noticed a little paw had latched onto the leg of my pants… in a way Billy chose us!’

Billy now spends his days with Adam in the studio, supervising and brightening up the day. The feline is especially keen on one of Adam’s latest designs, the Strand Collection for new Australian brand NAU. ‘There have been many chair prototypes in the studio of late… and we have a little joke running in the studio that if Billy doesn’t naturally want to sleep on the chairs, then potentially the ergonomics might not be up to snuff!’ tells the designer. *We can attest that Billy is a very good judge – we too favoured these CNC bent wire and Oak plywood pieces for our 2017 Open House last year!

‘Anyone involved in the design industry will know the long hours and late nights spent in the studio; Having Billy there provides great company,’ says Adam. He is also very vocal when we have clients in the studio, often he will jump up on the table and interfere – I think this lightens the mood and makes people happy!’

If you’ve carefully considered and committed to getting a pet, Adam strongly recommends adopting a rescue animal. It’s also important to note that rescue pets are generally happy, healthy pets that have become homeless through no fault of their own. Often their owner experiences a change of circumstance that stops them from continuing to care for an animal and provide it with a safe home. ‘There are so many beautiful animals waiting to be adopted and I feel if you take the time to go see them, you will find one that is right for both your needs.’ says Adam.

Every day, there are thousands of rescue pets available in community foster-based rescue groups, shelters, and pounds. Reach out to your local rescue organisation to find pets who are looking for a new home, or for more information, visit or

P.S When this story first came on our radar, I was inspired by Adam and Billy’s story and have just been approved as a rescue pet foster carer. If you can’t commit to indefinite care, there are other ways you can help too!

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