The Australian International Furniture Fair is on in Sydney next month and one of the most closely watched events is The Edge, the prestigious design competition known for unearthing the best new and emerging talents. Cy Clayton meets three of the WA finalists.
Slotting together with no need for glue or screws, the Ditto Table by Central Institute of Technology graduate Jack Flanagan may look complex but its construction is brilliantly simple.
The base is comprised of interlocking legs that are all identical in shape and size — hence the name.
“This means the manufacturing and assembly process is very simple, ” Flanagan said. “Once the legs are slotted together the water-cut aluminium is placed on top, locating itself with the legs poking through the triangular holes.”
His flair for merging functionality with unique forms is also evident in his second The Edge entry. “There were two directions that were explored when designing the Squeeze Clock, the first was having fun with concepting an interesting way to provide the clock face while still providing its basic functions of telling the time, ” he said. “The second direction was developing a system of clips that would not only hold the clock together but also provide the numbers for the clock face.”
This system consists of water-cut aluminium clips which are slotted on as the plywood layers of the clock’s body are squeezed together.
“These two products started off as very conceptual, but through refinement they turned into an object which is fully functional in any home.”
The 22-year-old from Mundaring, who won the award for most outstanding student across all areas in his graduating industrial design class, has previously been selected to exhibit at the prestigious London Design Festival as well as the VIVID competition in Melbourne in 2011 and 2012.
Third-year Central Institute of Technology 3D design student Callum Campbell also has two products entered in The Edge.
The moulded plywood Float Shelf is designed to serve as a beautiful piece of wall art as well a functional floating shelving system, while the Holiday Table is a showcase of streamlined, sustainable design.
“The Holiday Table is a completely flat, packable, customisable and sustainably minded coffee table, ” he said of the piece, which is constructed from Corian and American cherry wood.
“Through research, creative design, prototyping and material selection its five parts have evolved to eliminate the need for any fixings and glue. “The design is not only strong and durable but quick and easy to manufacture.”
The Holiday Table has already earned Campbell a merit award in the student category of the Design Institute of Australia WA awards, and was selected for the 2012 London Design Festival and VIVID competition, as well as for second-round judging at the Singapore Furniture Design Awards (results pending).
The Joondanna 22-year-old, who after graduating hopes to gain experience working for an architectural firm and eventually launch his own design business, describes his design aesthetic as “clean, contemporary yet understated”. “For me the beauty in a design is not only through its overall aesthetic but in the small details that set it apart from the rest, ” he said.
“As a designer I strive to create beautiful and aesthetically pleasing objects that improve and enhance our lives, ” said Kristina Melnikova, whose Luminessie pendant light was inspired by the organic shapes of elements from nature, such as leaves and water droplets.
It is comprised of 49 handmade porcelain slip castings, which are suspended on individual steel strings around an LED light globe, which creates a warm glow and appears to “wrap” around the porcelain shapes, according to Melnikova. “I wanted to create a shape that’s made out of different parts but they all flow together in one form, ” she said. “I quite like the repetition of an element because that creates something interesting every time.”
Melnikova, who is a second-year industrial design student at the Central Institute of Technology, said the Luminessie’s combination of an ultra-modern form with the organic shapes and natural feel of the unglazed porcelain was “beautiful and intriguing”— whether it was switched on or not.
The Edge winners will be announced in Sydney on February 6. To view all the finalists’ designs visit aiff.net.au.