It doesn’t take much imagination to see why Melbourne designer Jordan Fleming’s pieces are often referred to as ‘creatures’. Her sculptural mushroom lamps and their gangly legs have an intriguing quality about them, standing in slightly wobbly poses that suggest they might ‘scuttle away’ at any moment.
Since debuting these distinctive Bright Things at Melbourne Design Week 2021, the young designer’s work has been turning the heads. But Jordan is far from an overnight success – in fact, she has been designing and making things since childhood.
Growing up, Jordan watched her dad, a carpenter, create worlds while building film sets. When she studied object design at the University of New South Wales, she also worked in ‘various jobs’ in the art department, and even breifly undertook a cabinet making apprenticeship. Fast-forward to today, and she’s an interior designer by day, who’s also been working on her own furniture design practice since 2018.
‘I’m definitely much freer in my practice over the past few years, trying not to over edit the origins of the idea or fixate too much on the function of the object,’ Jordan explains. ‘I’m interested in exploring ways to remove the static element of an object, injecting life into it beyond a pretty facade, after all, we collect and live with these objects around us: they are our creativity personified.’
She describes her current aesthetic as ‘wonky’, ‘imperfect’ and ‘anamorphic’ – and she says she sometimes even spooks herself when she mistakes one of her large lamps for a person standing awkwardly in the corner!
A myriad of influences offer insights into Jordan’s distinctive aesthetic. She traces some aspects back to her childhood, where she spent ‘a lot of time daydreaming’, fascinated by the worlds Jeannie Baker, collaged in her picture books. Other influences range from painter William Turner to the colourful installations of James Turrell.
‘When it came to design, Alessi, was definitely my first introduction of what design can “be”,’ Jordan says. ‘Especially the more ‘creature’ inspired pieces and their mirror finish chrome. The idea that a juicer could look anything but like a juicer… like Louise Bourgeois sculpture whilst also a huntsman spider, or a creature from War Of The Worlds.’
There’s also an irony within the organic or ‘loose’ appearances of Jordan’s pieces, as in reality, a very precise process in required to bring these creations to life. All pieces are made by hand and rigorously prototyped, using mesh, a custom plaster mix and raw pigments to create their layered forms.
Jordan is already working on a new body of work for Melbourne Design Week 2023, and we can’t wait to see what she dreams up next!
See and shop Jordan’s work through Modern Times here.