A Three-In-One Design Practice From A One-Woman-Show

Designer and sculptor Lauren Lea Haynes found her love for furniture-making while working for Melbourne brand Heimur. By 2017, she had started studying Furniture Design at RMIT, and took advantage of last year’s study hiatus (plus the government’s National Enterprise Incentive Scheme) to launch her own business!

While Lauren finishes up her associate degree and sets her sights on studying Industrial Design in the near future, she’s handcrafting limestone sculptures at her studio space in Coburg, and spending her remaining time designing curvy armchairs and powder-coated metal furnishings at home. Step inside her wildly versatile, multi-disciplinary world!

Sasha Gattermayr

Lauren Lea Hayes surrounded by her limestone sculptures! Photo – Jess Brohier.

The ‘Desert Pea’ chair is upholstered by local fashion designer Kacy Heywood of Ka-He. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Prototypes for the Desert Pea chair were made with Tilly Barber of Monde Studio. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Lauren’s practice spans furniture-making with steel and upholstery, and sculpting with limestone. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Lauren makes all her limestone sculptures by hand, no power tools in sight! Photo – Jess Brohier.

‘I set aside three days a week for working on my limestone and 1-2 days for furniture design work at home, alongside two days a week at uni,’ says Lauren. She’s finishing off Furniture Design at RMIT, with her sights set on starting Industrial Design in the near future. Photo – Jess Brohier.

While Lauren creates the designs for her furniture by sketching and computer aided drawing (CAD) programs, she works with local fabricators to manufacture the finished products. Photo – Jess Brohier.

The Desert Pea chair, covered in patchwork denim. So cute! Photo – Jess Brohier.

Lauren is inspired by the work of Verner Panton, a legendary Dutch designer. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Native Australian flowers have been a lifelong inspiration for Jess. The soft, corrugated surface of her ‘Foli’ collection evoke these organic floral shapes. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Sasha Gattermayr
5th of May 2021

Lauren Lea Haynes is not your average student. With limestone sculpting, furniture design and uni study on her plate, she has to be extra disciplined when carving up her time.

‘I set aside three days a week for working on my limestone and 1-2 days for furniture design work at home,’ she says. ‘Alongside two days a week at uni.’ This stamina and dedication is both astounding and admirable for a single person, but totally explains Lauren’s superhuman creative output!

The time at her shared studio space in Coburg is spent making her monolithic limestone sculptures by hand (no power tools here!), where Lauren is surrounded by other makers and slow-furniture enthusiasts.

Her furniture designs are less hands-on, but still require a lot of work using computer programs to translate all her ideas from hand-drawn sketches into a workable finished product. Once the designs are refined, Lauren collaborates with local fabricators to bring the pieces to life. One of these partners is Kacy Heywood of fashion label Ka-He, who does all the upholstery for her ‘Desert Pea’ chairs.

Inspired by the organic forms and bright, vibrant colours typical of Verner Panton’s ’70s-era designs, Lauren credits classic design theory and native Australian florals as aesthetic influences. This is most notable in the ‘Foli’ collection – a range of powder coated tables made from steel and aluminium with undulating, corrugated edging, which summon the shape of a flower in bloom.

The prototypes for both the ‘Foli’ collection and the ‘Desert Pea’ chair were made with the guidance and collaborative power of Tilly Barber (the head designer and local vintage furniture-sources of Monde Studio – watch this space for her home tour on TDF soon!), but it was Lauren’s stroke of brilliance to bring all the elements of her professional creativity cohesively together.

In terms of getting your hands on one of Lauren’s excellent designs, she plans to set up an online store in the near future. But for now, she’s taking commissions via email, which can be found on her website.

‘I really like the intimacy and joy of talking people interested in my work,’ she says. No doubt her work brings joy to many others, too!

Keep up to date with Lauren’s latest endeavours and experiments on Instagram here.

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