A metal fabricator by trade, Kieran Meegan spent five and a half years working as a naval shipbuilder in Williamstown at BAE. In 2015 the yard was shut down, and Kieran, along with the entire shipbuilding workforce, were made redundant. It was this devastating turn of events that prompted Kieran and Ricki-Lee Robbie (who first met at a folk music festival when they were kids!) to develop their own creative project. Through Ricki-Lee’s job as Collections Coordinator at RMIT Design Archives, the couple discovered a mutual interest in furniture and product design.
‘When I was made redundant we decided to take the opportunity to try and start a business together’, Kieran explains of their early beginnings, ‘we made some prototypes of our first products while I was also doing custom work for other furniture makers.’ It wasn’t until 2016 that the couple launched the Idle Hands website and started selling product, and they’ve been growing steadily ever since. Their most recent collection, Platform, reflects the couple’s creative growth since the started Idle Hands.
‘This work is more cohesive as a collection than we’ve done before,’ says Kieran, ‘we’ve refined our aesthetic over the last 18 months, and understand better how we want Idle Hands products to look and feel’. Each piece can be arranged together as a collection, or hold their own independently, and be used both indoors and outdoors.
Each Idle Hands creation is made by Kieran in West Heidelberg, from flat laser-cut steel sections, which are zinc-nickel plated and powder coated for weather protection. For both Ricki-Lee and Kieran, a fundamental pillar of their work is keeping everything Australian made, ‘we really want to support local jobs and skills retention in the manufacturing industries’, they affirm.