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Sleek New Furniture From Idle Hands

Creative People

This afternoon’s post came to us by way of our former styling assistant and big-time legend, Nat Turnbull, who styled this beautiful shoot for product and furniture designers, Idle Hands. Thanks Nat!

Kieran Meegan is trained as a metal fabricator, and Ricki-Lee Robbie works part-time as Collections Coordinator at RMIT Design Archives. While Melbourne is lucky to have a small but thriving locally made furniture industry, this has got to be the first time we’ve heard of a former navy shipbuilder making each piece – talk about a sturdy build!

5th April, 2018

Keiran Meegan and Ricki-Lee Robbie started the furniture and object design business in 2015 after Kieran was made redundant. Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

‘Platform 1′ in Black, one of the flexible pieces from Idle Hands’ latest collection. Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

The collection came out of a sketch Rickie made one night, we were interested in making new pieces that used flat planes to make three-dimensional forms.’ Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

Over the last 18 months Keiran and Ricki-Lee have refined their style and aesthetic to produce their most cohesive collection yet. Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

Keiran worked as a navy shipbuilder for five and a half years before the pair embarked on Idle Hands. Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

The platforms are designed to function across multiple purposes, such as side tables or plant stands. Photo – Lauren Bamford. Styling – Nat Turnbull.

Sally Tabart
Thursday 5th April 2018

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.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net