From early on Ross Gardam knew that industrial design was for him. He clicked with the subject at university after growing up in the country town of Barham near the NSW and Victorian border with a father and grandfather who had a passion for making. After working in the design industry for a number of years, Ross stepped out onto his own and launched his eponymous business in 2007. He says it took him a few collections to cement his designs. “The realisation that I was going to be doing this for a long period of time made me slow down a little,” Ross says. As a consequence he releases only a few products each year because the design development takes at least 12 months for each one and everything is hand crafted in Melbourne. “Taking small steps is really important to me,” he says. “I like to labour over things and refine them to an inch of their life.”
Which five words best describe you? Analytical, driven, reflective, optimistic and cheeky.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After graduating from industrial design at Monash university I started working in the interior/retail design sector. It was interesting work and I learnt a lot about products in space. I then worked in branded environments, which is more industrial design focused. Working for a variety of firms in Australia and then London gave me a good grounding to start my own business eight years ago.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Take your time, ideas need time to bloom.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I like to celebrate the milestones along the way with each product, I don’t really have favourites.
What’s been your best decision? To employ staff, I could not do what I do without the team in the studio.
Who inspires you? I like the work of many international designers such as the Bouroullec brothers, Benjamin Hubert, Patricia Urquiola, Eoos & Barber Osgerby as well as Australian designers such as Alex Lotersztain, Jon Goulder, Keith Melbourne, Helen Kontouris and Adam Goodrum to name a few. I am inspired more by process and the beauty of material things more than people.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about Australian design and manufacturing and the challenges this throws up. Materials and processes are also a love of mine and are the grounding for all my products.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I think Hunter S Thompson would be fun to have a cheeky drink with.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I am enjoying what I am doing and want to do more of the same. I would like to work with some international brands to develop new product as well as continuing to work under my own brand.
What are you reading? I am actually on holiday in Borneo at the moment reading a trashy Robert Ludlum novel.
images courtesy of ross gardam