It’s the Olympics of the design world, and you’ll be happy to know Australia’s finest are certainly repping us well!
ALL the design heavy-weights are in Milan this week. From April 17th to 22nd, Salone Del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) is in full swing, and cementing itself as the international reference point for the furnishing and design sector.
With LOCAL MILAN No.3, Emma Elizabeth has set out to present a collective of Australian design and to increase awareness on a global scale, as well as encourage and support local designers to continue raising the bar. ‘People aren’t used to seeing a collective of Australian designers altogether, especially during this Furniture Fair. You always see The Swedes or The Dutch, The French… I want to hear peoples’ responses to The Australians, and hopefully have them become familiar with our aesthetic,’ she said yesterday, during a preview of the exhibition.
What then does Emma see as defining our look? An amalgamation of so many influences, but one that is underpinned by bold risk-taking. ‘This show proves that we aren’t afraid to use colour, or work with exaggerated shapes (like Fred Ganim’s Plane Table for example)… the forms are strong,’ she added. ‘There’s a lot of passion, and time put into these works, which is all at an increased risk because we are quite far away and things are expensive to make back home. But everyone is deeply passionate, and I think that’s what resonates.’
Several of the diverse designs are linked by their vibrant colour schemes, complementing the exhibition’s spectacular new location: a beautifully dilapidated Milanese apartment. Emma had her eye on this spot for years. Her curation and the majority of designs are reactive to the space, in particular, its richly-hued crumbling interior walls.
Adam Goodrum’s The Bloom Cabinet, created in collaboration with the straw marquetry master Arthur Seigneur, combines colours from the palette of the room it occupies, as does Sagitine’s The Sydney 30, which features specially dyed paper in a gradation of shades, from yellow to ultramarine. Just as commandingly colourful is the furniture and decor by Daniel Emma. Presented in their own shrine/room, this collection builds on their Bling Bling Dynasty project, which explores the designers’ cultural heritage and ideas of value.
Another linking factor is the experimental use of local materials. Adam Cornish presented his Rev stool for NAU, utilising processing capabilities readily available Melbourne, but atypical in traditional furniture design. ‘We wanted to take something industrial, and achieve an art finish,’ he told of his spun metal stool designs, this time in swirling nebular-like petrol-hues, and sandblasted champagne-coloured effects.
For his LOCAL DESIGN debut, designer/architect Walter Barda unveiled his Torso Chair for VELA. Referencing the human form as a piece of furniture, the Gold Coast-manufactured design features nine-layers of micro-laminated timbers, making for a lightweight piece – so light, in fact, it can be easily inverted and used at two different chair heights!
Another intriguing timber treatment was witnessed in Adelaide-based Jon Goulder‘s Innate collection of chair, consoles and coffee tables, finished with steel wool soaked in household vinegar. This intriguing process draws out the natural tannins in the Tasmanian Oak and Blackwoods.
Along with these names, ACV Studio, Charles Wilson, Christopher Boots, Dowel Jones, Emma Elizabeth, Hava Studio, Henry Wilson, Jamie Durie, Jonathan Zawada, Kate Banazi, Korban Flaubert, Lyn & Tony, Nicholas Fuller, Ross Gardam, Sp01, Tom Fereday, Tom Skeehan, and Volker Haug rounded out Australia’s representation at the exhibit.
LOCAL MILAN champions ‘think global and buy local’, connecting creative talent and brands, supporting Australian-designed production and export and actively promoting the growth of the Australian design industry. With this third iteration becoming the biggest yet, it’s wonderfully encouraging to see these ideas gaining traction!
LOCAL DESIGN presents LOCAL MILAN No.3
April 17th-22nd, 10am-6pm
Via Cesare Correnti, 14