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A Tailored Approach To Furniture Design

Studio Visit

Content to work slowly and surely with like-minded collaborators, Melbourne designer Adam Cornish strives to produce considered furniture that stands the test of time.

That said, he’s been getting a LOT done lately – releasing innovative collaborations with Tait and NAU, plus showcasing his designs from Milan to New York City!

26th June, 2018

Designer Adam Cornish with studio manager and artist Rachel Derum.  Their designs including Twist wire prototypes (top), Monkey Grip Planters (hanging) and Strand Chair for NAU. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘For the ‘Seam’ collection, we have been able to produce custom tooling and bending techniques inspired by the fashion industry’ tells the designer. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Prototype parts used in the development of the Seam collection for Tait. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Adam and Rachel recently converted a townhouse into their studio space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

A stack of Adam’s new ‘Seam’ chair, for Tait. With these recent designs, materiality remains at the forefront of Adam’s mind, in particular, the many similarities in the way sheet metal and fabric garments are constructed. Photo – courtesy of Tait.

Adam sketches ideas around a possible sofa construction… ‘Green pointillism abstract is something I do as a form of mindfulness, about as close as I can get to meditation,’ he adds. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Adam’s ‘Seam’ chair and table designs for Tait. Photo – courtesy of Tait.

Designer Adam Cornish. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Studio assistant Billy Cornish seated on their ‘Seam’ chair for Tait. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 26th June 2018

‘We are in a very special time for Australian Design at the moment… there has definitely been a shift in focus from working with solely international clients, to working with Australian companies that are now exporting into International markets’ – Adam Cornish.

The natural world has played a huge role in shaping Adam Cornish’s design practice. He grew up surrounded by nature, and not just in the way that applies to all humans; his parents owned a fern nursery. ‘If you look at the way plants and animals evolve to be better suited to their environments, this is how I like to view products – all the built world being in a constant state of evolution that we can hopefully help steer in better directions,’ he muses.

It’s been a busy year for Adam and his studio manager Rachel Derum. Working with Melbourne furniture producer Tait, the studio has developed a range of Seam tables and chairs, which launched during Melbourne Design Week, and picked up Best Product Design at Den Fair. Made from sheet steel, using a series of subtle gestures and folds informed by garment construction, the indoor/outdoor range broke new ground for Tait, which has been traditionally focused on outdoor solutions.

For the Seam range, Adam sought to create a design offering a level of comfort and sophistication not typically associated with folded metal. Together with the Tait factory, he devised custom tooling and bending techniques inspired by the fashion industry. ‘The most challenging aspect of being an industrial designer is trying to marry your creativity with different processes used to manufacture,’ tells Adam. ‘These challenges really need to be embraced, because over time, what seems like restrictions can give birth to new ways of thinking and creating.’

TDF caught up with Adam at Milan’s Salone Del Mobile in April, where we found him pushing the boundaries of materiality (not to mention getting up bright and early for some next-level product placement). For Local Design 2018, Adam turned his attention to electroplating, in particular, a zinc-plating process usually associated with industrial manufacturing. ‘Through a series of experiments, we were able to create subtle iridescent finishes, each unique to the shape of the piece,’ he explains of his spun metal Rev Stools for Australian brand NAU.

‘I think we are in a very special time for Melbourne and Australian Design at the moment,’ reflects the designer. ‘There has definitely been a shift in focus in our studio from working with solely international clients, to working with Australian companies that are now exporting into International markets, something I feel is definitely a turning point for Australian design.’

Adam and Rachel recently converted a townhouse into a studio space with all the creature comforts of a home, after looking at a slew of uninspiring commercial buildings. ‘This is something we are very excited about, after some freezing Melbourne winters spent in previous studios!’ jokes Adam. Inspired AND now also cosy, we’re expecting more wonderful things from Adam Cornish Design!

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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