Friday, 23 December 2011
Thursday, 22 December 2011
One of the highlights of this past year has been the opportunity to not only visit the Beverly Hills home of Kelly Wearstler, but also to meet a living icon of interior design. Walking around the 3650-square-metre estate was a slightly surreal experience - like being on a film set or, quite literally, within the pages of her books Domicilium Decoratus, Modern Glamour or Hue. But, as I wrote in the feature for Australia's Harper's BAZAAR, it still felt like a family home because of how relaxed her boys were playing there. The furniture was not too precious for them to curl up into. The grounds were ripe for playing. They were having a lot of fun... especially when the portraits had been taken and they couldn't wait to jump into the pool. Photographer Kata Varga captured so well their spirit of adventure. (We also managed to sneak in a few photo shoots for Frontliners while in LA, which we'll share in the New Year.)
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? I worked as a waitress for years. That job taught me how to multi-task and deal with people.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Opening my design firm over a decade ago. It was always a dream of mine, and I was fortunate enough to make it a reality.
What’s been your best decision? Having a family.
Who inspires you? William de Kooning, Sonia Rykiel, Ettore Sottsass... Each brings something unique to the table in their respective fields, which I respect and admire.
What are you passionate about? Fashion, travel, design, my family...
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? Always learn from your mistakes.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would love to have an opportunity to meet my children’s children and my great, great grandparents. It would be so intriguing to see my family’s past and future.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Opening my own lifestyle boutique.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
It is an ancient art form yet one that is resulting in international commisions for Australia's Harriet Goodall. She describes herself as a sculptural basket maker. The work incorporates craft, knowledge of plant materials and design. As part of her oeuvre, Harriet also collects discarded industrial farming materials to shape into objects such as light shades. She also co-founded Warp & Weft in 2005 with her husband. Together they import organically dyed, hand spun textiles from Peru and Argentina. The couple live in the Southern Highlands, an area of countryside south of Sydney. Harriet has a studio there, pictured above, which is a former milking shed. She also runs workshops on basket weaving.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
What’s your proudest career achievement? I finished my first international commission of a cluster of big sculptural pendant lights and a five-metre stick dividing wall (Rwith the help of Joe Vinks & Nick Goodall), and they are now in a restaurant in California.
What’s been your best decision? Steering clear of city life, living simply with one of the world's finest men.
Who inspires you?
What are you passionate about?
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
What dream do you still want to fulfil?
What are you reading?
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Bianca Riggio and Ryan Hanrahan are Sydney-based artists who have turned their passion for design into the business Page Thirty Three. Since launching in 2010 they have produced a range of products that have garnered a lot of attention thanks to their humorous and ironic take on everyday as well as iconic objects. The couple are now focussing their attention on producing as many of their designs in Australia as possible.
Which five words best describe you? Humorous, bubbly, creative, strong willed, hungry (literally).
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Well, we both studied fine arts, but there really wasn't this thread of jobs that lead to us starting Page Thirty Three. It was pretty left field. We are both creatives and have both always dreamt about all the things we would love to create. When we met this was immediately evident. I guess finding someone else who had the same ideas gave us the faith to just take the leap.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To make more time: take your time! I used to write like a million things I had to do each day, lists that were impossible to get to the bottom of and then be so disappointed when I didn't get there by the end of the day. I've learnt to break it down and work through a few jobs a day.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Receiving our first ever samples in the mail to our little Bondi apartment was a pretty special day.
What’s been your best decision? Moving into a warehouse in the Northern Beaches. It has really enabled our little business to endure the hard winter we just had in retail and it also means that we have started to produce small runs of product in-house, which is where we see the future.
What are you passionate about? EVERYTHING! I'm told it may have something to do with my Italian heritage. I am especially passionate about nutrition and the environment.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I really don't know, the thought has never crossed my mind. However, I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when Pierre Cabanne interviewed Duchamp, for the book Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many dreams! To start I want to take Page Thirty Three overseas next year. I also would like to move more towards creating larger objects and even spaces. Personally I dream of buying my own patch of land and having a barn house studio to work on my art.
What are you reading? Perfect health by Deepak Chopra.
images courtesy of page thirty three
Friday, 16 December 2011
The people who feature on Daily Imprint are on a creative journey. And it's always interesting to see where they go next. When I interviewed Olivier Dupon in March 2010 (and showcased photos of his Sydney home here) he had closed his Balmain boutique Lola Et Moi and was focussing on his blog Dossier37. Since then he has been working on a rather large project - publishing a book - The New Artisans - with Thames & Hudson. Basically it's his blog come to life.
How did you arrive at the concept for the book? While importing independent designers' creations for my own shop Lola et Moi in Sydney, Balmain, I could experience first hand the resurgence for craft and customers craving for anything unique and handmade. Once I closed the shop, I thought about how I could pursue my passion for scouting and promoting talented makers. Highlighting these 'artisans' in a book appeared to be the best venue as a book helps set contributors more permanently in time; it gives them a wider exposure and really allows a better focus. I am also a strong believer that books tend to be cherished and collected, so that fully suits the purpose of such an exercise: showcasing desirable creations, beyond introducing craft skills. A paper volume as such is a perfect match for a project about craft.
What was involved in the creation process? Drive, networking and organisation skills are key elements. The intention was to create a multi-dimensional book, where readers could simply get inspired or ultimately be directed to a designer for a purchase. The main criteria was thus to cover as many techniques and base materials as possible, feature as many countries of origin as possible, and introduce a wide range of creative styles (from utilitarian via decorative to purely artistic objects). Sprinkle that with a touch of personal flair, selecting ultimately my favourite talents. All the information was provided by the contributors (facts and quotes) and the final texts and layouts were validated by them before printing: a true team work all along.
How long did it take to come together - from concept to first copy? It is a labor of love and as such a "child". It literally took nine months from the first work meeting to having validated the final pages and texts, then add 5 months for the print lead time and delivery to the stores.
How did you envisage the look of the book? I always had in mind to create a desirable, yet accessible, and "poetic" book, and I was fortunate enough to work with a publisher, and subsequently an editorial and design team, who understood and shared my vision. Simple and modern layouts that suit the humility of the artisan world and showcase above all the objects, whilst instilling a soft elegance. Artisanship is not about ego, but the love of material and the excellence in craft. The book had to translate that, and it hopefully does.
What was unexpected about the whole experience? The enthusiastic response and feedback from day one, starting with each contributor, who all immediately and cheerfully embarked on this adventure with me and now with the reader feedback, which is overwhelmingly positive. It is not that I was not confident about the project, but you can never be sure in advance about how many people will so fully embrace your honest passion.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Individually the partners behind Doherty Lynch - Mardi Doherty and Fiona Lynch - have a wealth of experience working on world-class interior projects. Since joining forces they are fast becoming a well-known entity with a slew of awards to back them up. While Fiona comes from an fine arts and interior design background, Mardi has earned her stripes at some of the world's best known design and architectural firms, including the Conran Group in the UK and the David Collins architecture studio. During her time in Europe she worked on a range of projects - from the interior for Madonna's home in Belgravia to the retail fitouts for the Diesel fashion brand.
Which five words best describe you? Enthusiastic, driven, loyal, active, loved.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was lucky to work for Chris Connell at the beginning of my career. He gave me more responsibility than you would expect at that age, so I was exposed to all aspects of design, client liaison and seeing projects through to completion. At the time, we were working on the design of a London-based restaurant for Will Ricker, so I decided to head over and see it while it was being constructed. Three years later, I returned to Melbourne after a crazy time working for the Conran Design Group and David Collins. The one consistent thread in my career is that I have always had incredibly passionate, eccentric and creative bosses who were uncompromising in their commitment to their designs.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Every problem has a solution – you just need to stay calm, take a step back, stare a bit and talk it through.
What’s your proudest career achievement? To see the NGV at Federation Square finally open! I spent three years working on the gallery spaces (while working for Lab Architecture Studio) with a passionate team of designers. It was a magical feeling when we could enter as patrons, rather than one of the working team.
What’s been your best decision? To start a partnership business after having kids – it's great to have someone to share the responsibilities with and it makes work a lot more fun.
Who inspires you? Strong, accomplished women who pursue their dreams while still raising a family. One person in particular is my business partner Fiona. Not only is she an amazing designer, she is also organised and ridiculously capable, and she has taught me so much.
What are you passionate about? Travel, desserts, art, friends and family.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Salvador Dali.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To study glassblowing while living in Murano, Italy. My passion for Murano lights and glass was heightened by a visit to Murano where I watched the artisans at their craft. The beautiful fluid forms and bold, bright colours are incredible.
What are you reading? The recipe for Raspberry Eton Mess in Fleur Woods’ gorgeous book Food Fashion Friends.
images courtesy of doherty lynch
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Melbourne-based Tae Schmeisser only launched her jewellery label Beuy at the start of December, and already she's been blown away by the response. It's her second label, after exhibiting in galleries with her eponymous line since 2002. Tae has a BA in Visual Arts (glass) from the Australian National University, and has studied ceramics and glass in Japan.
Which five words best describe you? Energetic, driven, focused, curious, observant.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After finishing my visual arts degree five years ago, I started stocking my glass jewellery pieces at the Canberra store Bijoux. While I felt nervous about having my work critiqued, the response was positive. The reward was certainly worth the risk to my ego. Next I enrolled in a gold and silversmithing course so I could learn about and work with other materials. Now, after a number of years making gallery pieces, I am excited to launch a jewellery label that can offer something creatively and technically innovative as well as being more accessible for a broader range of people.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Always get professional photography! Investing in your work and its presentation can only have positive results.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Launching my label bëuy! Gaining the experience, knowledge and the nerve to take the creative and professional leap. Sometimes you need to make wrong turns and take the long way around to be certain of what you want, and how much you’re willing to put at stake for it. But the detours can also be a lot of fun!
What’s been your best decision? Surrounding myself with people who offer different perspectives, support and insight. People who make me laugh. Everyone has life lessons and experiences to share. Listening is invaluable. Sometimes you just need someone with a fresh perspective to ask you the right question and it can help resolve a design or technical glitch.
Who inspires you? Anyone who has a passion that no matter how mundane, outrageous, unconventional or unprofitable it may seem just keeps working at it, refining and evolving their practice, because they could not imagine living without it.
What are you passionate about? Sharing my perspective through my work, even though it may not always be terribly enlightening to anyone else! I get excited and inspired by everyday objects - a well-crafted spoon that perfectly balances form and function, the geometric beauty of a rib cage.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? A few girlfriends and I were actually talking about how we would love to have dinner with Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton from At the Movies - they are both so fervent and even when they absolutely disagree, you can still see the respect between them.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I hope that I never run out of dreams and goals. At the moment, I am working on the next collection for bëuy. My ultimate dream is to extend into homewares and fashion. I want to create a brand that delivers a recognisable and unique aesthetic with new approaches to materials. I want people to be able to look at a piece in New York, Paris or Batemans Bay and straight away say, “That’s a bëuy...”
What are you reading? My wonderful Dad gave me a cheeky book, The book of general ignorance, part two. I think he was trying to tell me something.
images courtesy of beuy
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Why did you decide to do a follow-up book to 50 60 70? It took me a while to get the energy back to think about a second book but due to the great deal of interest in the first one I thought a follow up would be logical. While collaborating with photographer Michael Wee, art director Andrea Healy and editor Leta Keens on the first book we had established a way of working together and developed a strong template for the book. 70/80/90 Iconic Australian Houses was an extension of this format with the 70s revisited because of two very special houses - Richard Leplastrier's Palm House and Glenn Murcutt's Kempsey House.
What was involved in the creation process? I had to source the houses that I thought would fit the bill, approach the architects and find out if the home owners were comfortable to be included in the book. The benefit of having the first edition was that everyone involved could see the treatment of the houses and the production values of the book.
How long did it take to come together - from concept to first copy? I agreed to do the book in January 2009 and we had the launch at the end of October 2011. It was a long process because I work full time and so weekends, evenings, holidays and a stint of long service leave became the times that I worked. Much was done sitting in the car outside daughter's ballet school on a Saturday morning. There was two years of writing, photography and design - travelling to rural NSW, Victoria and Queensland - and then six months of proofing processes and printing.
What was important to you in terms of the book's text, photography and design? All the elements you mention were equally important. The ability to interview all the architects, and in some instances the clients, gave the text a really personal feel. The book is written in a direct fashion, not in the language of the architectural profession, and so while completely accurate it is also approachable. The photography process was that I would visit each house and take snaps which were the basis for discussion with the photographer and in some instances the stylist. I would try and write the text before the photographs were taken so the emphasis of the images were correct. I worked very closely with Andrea Healy on the layouts. It was one of the best elements of the design journey - working through what images worked together to best effect and tell the story of each house in a beautiful and evocative way.
What was unexpected about the whole experience? Nothing was unexpected as the second time around we were experienced in the process. I did, however, love seeing how each stage came together and how the final layouts really felt more than the sum of the parts. There are some movingly beautiful houses and I feel passionate about all of them. Now the book is published the architects seem happy with not only their houses but the company they keep with the other choices. That is very gratifying.
images courtesy of iconic australian houses
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Among the many projects completed by Brisbane-based architecture firm Owen & Vokes is a contemporary prefab house called the White Series for Happy Haus. Since creating the firm in 2003, Stuart Vokes has overseen several furniture projects too, including this bedside library. But primarily the practice is known for its residential work. One home, pictured second from the top, was featured in the Christmas issue of InsideOut magazine. Stuart explained his approach to the interiors: "Walls are our ally. They allow us to manipulate particular and unique characters for each room. In relation to climatic control and comfort, solid walls are the cheapest technology and the most successful thermal and sound insulators." Interesting to consider in light of the current love of open-plan living.
Which five words best describe you? Searching for knowledge and beauty.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My father and grandfather both ran their own businesses. They taught me that work was life, work was virtuous, work was happiness. I suppose it was in my DNA that I establish my own practice.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Be generous. One creates their own opportunities and happiness.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Having happy clients.
What’s been your best decision? Asking a cute shop girl on a date (she became my wife).
Who inspires you? My partners and colleagues - they bring a creative energy to the studio. I am also inspired by anyone who generates their own place to dwell, to exist in this world.
What are you passionate about? I am very passionate about my practice, which I share with Paul Owen and Aaron Peters.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Adolf Loos - late Viennese architect. I have learnt so much about room-making from studying his work.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To make a project in Sweden or Japan would be sweet!
What are you reading? I am re-reading Junichiro Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows, and David Malouf's 12 Edmonstone Street. I find that there is always something more to be found, something that I missed in my favourite books.
images courtesy of owen and vokes
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
There is a talented designer in Melbourne called Emily Wright (read her Daily Imprint interview here) who comes from a fine arts background but is now a textile designer for her label Nancybird, which had its genesis in 2001. Most of her wares are handprinted in Melbourne and she sources custom-made leathers in Italy. There is a distinct Australian influence in Emily's work, such as the bag she's offering Daily Imprint readers the chance to win. It features a native Australian daisy print.
Monday, 5 December 2011
Camie Lyons is an artist who lives in Sydney, has studied in Sweden, exhibited in Hong Kong and is in talks for a commission in Scotland. In a castle, no less. She was a finalist in The Dobell Prize for drawing in 2010 and is currently exhibiting at Tim Olsen Gallery until December 11.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was lucky to get some good media attention early on, Belle, Vogue Living, etc, all picked up the work and I just ran with that. I don't think the path has been clear; I just keep creating and putting my best out there, always my best work. Now I have the support of good galleries I feel I have more freedom and confidence to make the work I believe in; beautiful and sensitive is what I always steer by. I love lines, organic, pulsating lines and the arrangement of these gestures, like solid drawings in space - they
are in themselves a kind of path being drawn.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Persistence - and never compromise.
What's your proudest career achievement? This year has been pretty amazing and this question was lovely to make me pause and think about this. The Dobell Prize beginning of the year, being part of Wattle: A survey of Australian Contemporary Art in Hong Kong, installing the biggest commissions of my career in Phuket, and then finishing with this exhibition Wallflower (entering space) which I am very, very proud of. It has been a wild, incredibly huge year - and I survived it!
What's been your best decision? To have a child, and then another.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by those around me, by random acts of kindness, by a beautiful human moment and by the unexpected details of the everyday. It's not so much who as what.
What are you passionate about? My boys and my art, I try to keep it simple. Oh, and food... and friends, my gorgeous eclectic collection of friends. And a good belly laugh over a glass of wine; escaping to the country; being caught in a storm on one of Sydney's wonderful beaches; getting lost in his embrace; my new garden; dressing up - still love playing dress ups; and my beautiful, extra special little boys, and watching them piece together an understanding of this thing called life; travel; love a good adventure; love a good story; I suppose I live a quite a passionate life and I am absolutely no good at keeping it simple!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Louise Bourgeois
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Personally: balance and patience. Professionally: there has been talk of a commission for the grounds of a Scottish castle, what girl would not want to do that I ask! How completely romantic.
What are you reading? Right now, Buddhism for mothers by Sarah Napthali - utterly lovely and honest and something to strive for.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Swedes are perhaps as well known for their love of colour, as well as their passion for white, white, white. And so it goes with the designs of Charlotte Swiden. While she was born and raised in Sweden, she moved to Melbourne in 2005. Initially Charlotte worked as a product and stationery designer for the Australian brand with a Swedish aesthetic kikki.K (read a Daily Imprint interview with its founder Kristina Karlsson here). But now she has ventured off to create her own brand with Swiden, celebrating colour - and white.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started as an apprentice at a small design company back home in Sweden, studying graphic design after hours and freelancing on the side. Four years later I decided I wanted to live in Melbourne, Australia so I packed up my life and moved. I completed a bachelor degree in communication design and kept freelancing. After that I found my dream job at kikki.K as a product and stationery designer. It was hard work but so rewarding and I had almost total creative freedom. I stayed with kikki.K for three years and then decided to realise my dream to design and make my own products.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust my gut instincts. If it feels right - go for it.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably my first sales and positive feedback, realising that people want and enjoy what I'm creating.
What’s been your best decision? Moving to Melbourne and leaving my home in Sweden was life changing, but the best decision I ever made. My life wouldn't have been what it is now otherwise. I met my fiance here, I found my dream career, I love the city's lifestyle and I'm always close to nature.
Who inspires you? Passionate people who are living their dreams.
What are you passionate about? My man and my home, designing my own products, being in nature, the ocean, traveling, reading, good food.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I think I'd be too tongue-tied to meet some genius like Einstein or Dalai Llama. If I could beam myself to meet my family in Sweden a bit more often I'd be pretty happy.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many things! To make a living from making my products. To be a good mum. To make my own porcelain products, design a kids collection and to own a beach house...
What are you reading? Just about to start reading Norwegian Wood by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.