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10 Awe-Inspiring Creative Collaborations From Across Australia

TDF Design Awards

They say that two heads are better than one, and this is certainly true for the Collaboration category finalists of the 2020 TDF + Laminex Design Awards!

These 10 projects (we’ve lost count of how many heads) have been selected from more than 30 entries, representing creatives from all across the country. This is the category in our Awards program that celebrates creative partnerships, and highlights how they can forge new design directions and brilliant outcomes.

The winner from this shortlist, as judged by Amanda Henderson of Gloss Creative, celebrated stylist and award-winning author Megan Morton, and Jeremy Wortsman of The Jacky Winter Group, will be unveiled at our Awards presentation – details of which will be announced VERY soon!

This is the last of our Awards category deep dives before the big night on November 5th. Stay tuned over the coming days for the details on how YOU can participate in this massive night in the TDF calendar!

20th October, 2020

Edition Office & Daniel Boyd, For Our Country. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Edition Office + Daniel Boyd, For Our Country

For Our Country is the inaugural National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war memorial, commissioned by the Australian War Memorial, and located on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country (Canberra). The design is the collaborative work of artist Daniel Boyd, who is a Kudjala/Gangalu man, and Edition Office architects. 

The memorial is designed to reflect the lived experience and memory of all Indigenous communities, including those who served in the Australian armed services, and the trauma of the frontier wars of colonisation.

Behind a ceremonial fire pit lies the sculptural pavilion made primarily of fractured basalt shards. A wall of two-way mirrored glass set with thousands of transparent lenses represents our perception, while highlighting our incomplete understanding of history.

Left: Nicholas Johnston & Kristian Klein, Krof Cutlery. Photo – Tomas Friml. Right: Exquisite Corpse by A&A. Photo – Andrew Curtis.

Nicholas Johnston + Kristian Klein, Krof Cutlery 

Rogerseller and Miele Design Centre alum Nicholas Johnston and restaurateur Kristian Klein have collaborated on Krof – a perfectly balanced stainless steel cutlery collection that brings the elegance of modern dining to the home dinner table.

Inspired by Australia’s love for contemporary cuisine, the makers of Krof cutlery wanted their new range to complement the food we love to eat, without forsaking utility. The result is a refined, contemporary and durable first collection of cutlery that has been specifically developed with modern eating in mind.

Arthur Seigneur + Adam Goodrum, Exquisite Corpse

‘Longbow’ is a credenza from the three piece-collection ‘Exquisite Corpse’, by A+A – a collaboration between Adam Goodrum and Arthur Seigneur, originally created as an exhibition for Melbourne Design Week 

The initial design and patterns were conceived by industrial designer Adam, then finessed by Melbourne-based French marquetry artisan Arthur. The duo envisioned the colours and patterns together, resulting in a cascading kaleidoscopic design inspired by the concentric symmetry of a lotus blossom.

Using just a scalpel, ruler and wood glue, Arthur painstakingly covered the credenza with 10,000+ ribbons of custom-dyed straw imported from Burgundy. Exploiting the material’s reflective properties, this straw has been laid in varying and often contrasting directions, imbuing the surface with a dynamic, textured quality.

Left: Manapan Furniture x Foolscap Studio, Gulnura Furniture Suite. Photo – Tatjana Plitt. Right: The Big Group & Koichi Takada Architects, Landmark by Lexus. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Manapan x Foolscap Studio, Gulnura Furniture Suite

Melbourne-based interior designers Foolscap Studio have joined forces with Manapan, furniture designers and makers from Milingimbi Island, 500km east of Darwin in Arnhem Land. Manapan is a self-sufficient and self-funded enterprise owned and operated by the Yolngu people, the traditional custodians of East Arnhem Land.

Crafted from local gum, this family of bespoke boardroom furniture designed for the Melbourne Airport is inspired by the Gulnura (the Yolngu word for ‘lightning snake’) local to Milingimbi Island/Yurrwi. The Gulnara table and sideboard were commissioned for the office of the CEO.

The Big Group + Koichi Takada Architects, Landmark by Lexus

Catering and events company The Big Group collaborated with Koichi Takada Architects in 2019 to design and deliver Landmark by Lexus – a three-storey, temporary pavilion located at Flemington Racecourse during Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Infusing Lexus’ Japanese values of warmth and hospitality with the design directive of the rich native landscape of Australia, Koichi Takada Architects created a voluminous sheer ceiling installation.

Undulating overhead, this installation flowed across the entire ceiling of the third level, encompassing guests in dreamy layers of raw linen fabric. The Big Group team then tested and sampled various materials and execution methods, while conferring with Koichi Takada Architects (located in Sydney) remotely.

Through a series of material and manufacturing refinements, all elements of this installation were produced off site and assembled in situ.

Left: Obus & Olana Janfa, Olana x Obus. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air. Right: Pan After & Alice Oehr, Paper Pattern Collection. Photo – Josh Robenstone.

Obus + Olana Janfa, Olana x Obus

Inspired by the extraordinary power of mothers, and the connection he feels to his birth country,  Melbourne-based Ethiopian-Norwegian artist Olana Janfa worked directly with Melbourne fashion label Obus to translate his work into four unique textile prints.

The IMAYĒ print is dedicated to Olana’s mother, and is a series of traditional African mothers and children, while the TULLU and SABEL prints (named after Olana’s grandmother and mother respectively) are his interpretation of Obus’ more classic florals.

LENCHAA translates to ‘lion’, and utilises warm, earthy tones and pops of fuchsia pink to express strength and confidence.

Pan After + Alice Oehr, Paper Pattern Collection

In line with their long history of celebrating handmade and one-of-a-kind objects from around the world, Pan After looked to collaborate with designer and illustrator Alice Oehr on a collection of original patterns to be constructed into a collection of layered paper vessels.

This handcrafted range was crafted by a collective of women employed by the Wola Nani project in South Africa. The skill of the Wola Nani crafters using the age-old technique of papier-mâché brings these patterns to life in a collection of sculptural, stackable and functional pieces.

Left: Nudie Jeans x Waverley Mills, Recycled Blanket. Photo – Nina Hamilton. Right: Centre for Appropriate Technology & Elliat Rich & Outside Assembly, Wren Furniture Suite for ApMurra Furniture. Photo – Dallas Kilponenn.

Nudie Jeans + Waverley Mills, Recycled Blanket

Nudie Jeans and Waverley Mills have pioneered a new process to transform deadstock denim into soft, merino blend blankets. This collaboration began in 2019, when Nudie Jeans Australia CEO Bryce Alton met Waverley Wills CEO Andrew Cuccurullo at a sustainability conference. Upon learning that Waverley Mills had the technology to shred post-consumer Nudie Jeans and blend them with locally-produced wool and recycled polyester, the brands decided to collaborate.

The result is the Nudie Jeans x Waverley Mills Recycled Blanket made from 65 per cent Tasmanian wool (including waste and offcuts), 20 per cent post-consumer jeans, and 15 per cent recycled polyester.

Waverley Mills is Australia’s oldest working textile mill, established in 1874.

Centre for Appropriate Technology + Elliat Rich + Outside Assembly, Wren Furniture Suite for ApMurra Furniture 

The Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) worked alongside multidisciplinary designer Elliat Rich and Industrial Designers Outside Assembly to produce an indoor-outdoor hybrid furniture suite. The Wren Furniture Suite was inspired by the Fairywren, one of the few small native bird species who has successfully adapted to urbanisation.

This range was produced by Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfaT), a training organisation that provides funding support and a platform for First Nations people to be employed and trained as apprentices.

Edition Office & Yhonnie Scarce, In Absence. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Edition Office + Yhonnie Scarce, In Absence

The fifth annual NGV Architecture Commission, In Absence, is a collaboration between contemporary artist and Kokatha and Nukunu woman Yhonnie Scarce, and Melbourne architecture studio Edition Office.  In Absence seeks to provide visitors with an understanding of indigenous construction, design, industry, and agriculture before European settlement – thousands of years of sustainable systems and ideas that have been largely erased from Australian education and history.

The black-stained Tasmanian oak vertical cylinder is split into two towering chambers, separated by a void. Yhonnie’s glass-blown yams line the walls, with 1600 of the precise objects installed to creep upwards with increasing density towards the sky, capturing the light with a sense of shimmering movement. In Absence celebrates country and culture, and highlights the fallacy of terra nullius – the myth that the land was ever empty.

The project seeks to celebrate and to give presence and exposure to Indigenous history and knowledge, by providing a meditative space to acknowledge this history.

We’re proud to partner with heritage Australian brand Laminex to realise The Design Files + Laminex Awards program 2020.  Laminex is Australia’s leading supplier of modern laminates, quality engineered stone, timber panelling and more. Find out more here.

Winners of the The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 + Laminex will be announced November 5th!


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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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.