Designer of the Month
Camperdown, NSW, Australia
There’s always been a strong focus towards locally made products, I just think that the number of options now is much greater, and the level of quality keeps raising each year. There’re some really beautiful products that stand up on the world stage for quality.
With Tom Fereday’s designs, what you see is what you get. Luckily what you get is pretty extraordinary. The furniture designer was born in Australia but spent a large proportion of his upbringing in England, inspired by the immensity of the culture, architecture and history of greater Europe. After taking on a mentorship with Australian-born design legend, Marc Newson, Tom returned to Sydney, setting up a studio in the creative inner west precinct.
Tom’s designs are honest to the core and boast his precise eye for engineering and composition. “I think the first principal is to try and celebrate the material because it’s easy to forget sometimes that that was a tree that grew 50 years ago and was cut down and processed and made into the end material,” says Tom.
In each of his designs, the material sits proudly at the forefront, reminding its audience of the manufacturing journey prior to its position within the showroom. But more than a mere aesthetic choice, Tom sees his own pieces as indicative of a wider shift in the culture between the designer, the maker, the product and the public, a relationship that is cinching in ever closer. “We’ve come to a period where people are celebrating craft and manufacture, and it’s interesting to people to know how it’s made,” says Tom. “Even the pieces that look simple take a huge amount of work. So if that can be conveyed, or if that can be appreciated by people, then they will value it more. If I bought any piece and I knew the person who made it or the work that went into it, then I would value that more than an inanimate object.”
Tom recently collaborated with Project 82, a Sydney furniture retailer, to design a sofa as part of the locally-focused collection under the label Staple&Co. Founder of both Project 82 and Staple&Co, Shelley Mason, centred the collection firmly within the Sydney locale, enlisting a diverse range of celebrated designers to build a line-up of locally designed and manufactured pieces, including sofas, tables and seating. Tom and Shelley brainstormed together to realise a sofa that would compliment the collection and stay true to Tom’s signature raw appeal. The result is the Tatami, a quiet and embracing sofa with a real sense of authenticity in its presence, exposing each handcrafted component for all to see – and to admire.
The Tatami sofa holds a low and relaxed stance that draws subtle inspiration from Japanese furniture. “I find that so much of Japanese design does that so beautifully, where it’s extremely simple but has a quality and an air about it that makes it seem very elegant,” says Tom. The Tatami reveals a solid ash frame to contour the exterior form. The deconstructed style allows for the entire piece to be easily assembled and disassembled in a flat pack-like design. Tom wanted for every element to be fully replaceable and help the sofa to live long into the future.
Staple&Co’s collection aims to connect buyers with local Australian talent, to celebrate the enduring hours and tired hands that constructed each piece. And when there is an endless range of products competing for a place within the living room, it is the pieces that exhibit the narrative of their material, production, and the people involved down the line, that earn their place in our homes and are held onto over generations. “Within Australia, there’s a growing craft and manufacturing scene that is really flourishing now,” says Tom. “There’s always been a strong focus towards locally made products, I just think that the number of options now is much greater, and the level of quality keeps raising each year. There’re some really beautiful products that stand up on the world stage for quality.”