Discovering Australian Design
9 March, 2018
Ultimo, NSW, Australia
‘Discovering Australian Design‘ will be an inspiring and informative evening, bringing together an award-winning Australian design panel to answer questions and discuss their local and international success stories. Held on Friday 9th March as part of Sydney Design Festival, the event is hosted by three of Australia’s most renowned supporters of local design – Catapult Design, Authentic Design Alliance and Gather Design.
Australian design is going from strength to strength, with established and emerging designers driving momentum and creating exciting, original work. A testament to our homegrown design success, local architects and designers are increasingly specifying Australian designed products in their projects over international alternatives. Not only are locally designed and made products offering clever, creative craftsmanship and innovative design, but on a practical level they also deliver the benefit of shorter lead times. ‘Discovering Australian Design‘ will explore the exciting developments in the field today, and discuss how and why we must support, recognise and encourage our local talent. On the panel will be recognised industrial and furniture designers Adam Goodrum and Tom Skeehan, along with renowned interior designers Yasmine Ghoniem of Amber Road, and Matt Woods. Anne-Maree Sargeant, of the Australian Design Alliance, will moderate the panel and open up discussions around the success stories of these Australian creatives in their quests for recognition and ultimately commercial achievement.
Award-winning industrial designer Adam Goodrum is a West Australian who has had great success both locally and internationally, with his distinctive furniture designs produced by renowned local brands Cult and Tait, as well as international brands Capellini and Alessi. Reflecting on the current state of Australian design, Adam is noticing ‘a renewed proudness in our furniture and products. Australian design is becoming increasingly valued, with architectural initiatives specifying Australian furniture, cafes employing local studios for fit-outs, and individual consumers seeking out local design’. He sees the success of Australian design as offering opportunities and encouragement for emerging designers to produce self-initiated projects. In established international markets, young designers work for larger, older studios. The Australian design culture, however, encourages experimentation, resulting in resourceful designers with a broader range of skills and flourishing of small independent design practices.
Interior architect Yasmine Ghoniem runs Amber Road Studio with her sister, landscape architect Katy Svalbe, bringing their skills and unique design aesthetic together to provide both interior and landscape design. The duo are seeing ever-increasing demand for their services in both the residential and hospitality sectors, while they also delve into community projects. Their complementary talents result in exceptional indoor and outdoor spaces, and Amber Road are energetically contributing to and paving the way for Australian design. ‘We are creating not just a home, but a whole new lifestyle,’ says Yasmine, ‘we can’t think of another practice locally that offers the same distinctive pairing.’
Matt Woods of Matt Woods Design is pushing the envelope when it comes to interior design. Receiving recognition as winner of Best Restaurant Award at the Eat Drink Awards in 2015 was just the start of his subsequent great industry success. Now, with a string of new projects ahead for 2018, Matt believes originality is the only way for any creative endeavour to move forward. The thriving Australian restaurant and café culture offers many opportunities for creative, forward-thinking designers. This fertile ground for innovation and new talent is combined with a genuine community of local designers all supporting each other, where a unique design methodology is fostered and collaboration is promoted. ‘These factors, in turn, create our own unique Australian design language, which is surely our greatest strength, says Matt.
Furniture designer Tom Skeehan‘s collection ‘Hoshi’, represented by Stylecraft Australia, made an extremely impressive debut and has gone from strength to strength. Tom says that receiving support from Stylecraft, as a reputable company offering both Australian and international brands has opened many doors in product development, market research, sales and distribution. Building on his local success, Tom has cultivated an international presence for Skeehan Studios. ‘You have to be patient in this industry and building partnerships internationally requires a good strategy, having the right product, as well as ability to supply’, he says. The studio manufactures everything locally. ‘Developing these working relationships has taken a number of years and each party needs to support each other. The key is to be open and trust the companies you partner with – each business can really benefit from a genuine collaboration.’ This year, Skeehan Studios continues to see the success of this approach, and will be launching new product designs through Local Design at Milan Design Week 2018.
In line with the event’s theme of discussing the imperative to support local design, ‘Discovering Australian Design‘ is presented by three organisations each doing excellent work in the field. Authentic Design Alliance is a members-based education platform, highlighting and promoting the importance of investing in original, local design to support the industry. Catapult Design, founded in 2013, represents a wide range of Australia’s best designers across lighting and furniture. Gather Design is an independent organisation, created to encourage the movement of supporting the momentum that Australian designers are creating both internationally and at home.
Bringing together these three important supporters of Australian design with the makers and designers themselves, the event promises to be an invigorating and productive evening of discussion combined with inspiring stories of success. For industry-insiders and design lovers alike, this is a chance to celebrate the impressive achievements of our own local creatives, and to gain valuable insights into the direction of Australian design at home and internationally.
‘Discovering Australian Design‘ panel discussion, to be followed by drinks, will be held at Catapult Design showroom, Level W2, Unit 6/42 Wattle Street, Ultimo on Friday March 9th, 6 – 8.30pm. Tickets are $15.00 + bf through Eventbrite.