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  • Back in late 2015, we were commissioned to develop a public artwork for a Fremantle High School extension. The school's curriculum uniquely has specialist teaching in marine and maritime studies and is located close to the beach and wetlands significant to the local Whadjuk community. So, it goes without saying that the artwork, as part of the structure's soffit, was inspired by being underwater and waves. 

    Working in Rhino, Solidworks and Grasshopper, the shop drawings were completed by Composite Components (Bibra Lake, WA) and the laser cut and CNC folded components fabricated by Unique Metals (Wangara, WA). Last week we finally saw the first of 9 assemblies being installed on site. I think the photos tell the story. 

    Images: digital design, view into skylight from top, assembly one on site, assembly being hoisted into place, assembly fixed to beams, closeup of viewing into the skylight/ oculus with reflections of the sky. Photos by author, 2017.

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    Inga Sempe creates some beautifully understated yet unique work. What I love about it, is the subtle nostalgia. Design has the power to tap into past positive emotion through nostalgia but as a designer, replicating is clearly a no-go zone.
    Whilst so many designers draw upon nature for inspiration, I wonder how often it is moreso linked to past emotion and our childhood fascination with the natural world. Perhaps this sense of nostalgia is echoed in more design creations than we first realise. 
    Back to Inga Sempe though, her 'Canape Ruche' seems to me to directly connect to that sense of home comfort, indeed the 'comforter' (internal to the bed quilt cover), for her lounge series. 
    In an interview in 2007, she spoke about nostalgia in reference to her 'La Chapelle' table series; "After I had designed the first side tables in the series, I realised that the graphic structure resembling that of the nice garbage bins in the Luxembourg garden in Paris, a place that I remember since my childhood." (http://davidreport.com/200703/conversation-around-a-dining-table-by-inga-sempe/)
    We can't avoid being influenced by our past experience, but it seems even garbage bins can have positive emotional connections and drive successful design- who would have thought?

    Canape Ruche and La Chapelle by Inga Sempe.  images: http://www.ingasempe.fr/  

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    People have asked me what I spoke about at Parallels, so I thought I'd share a little with you here; 

    The digital and the virtual is in many days the opposite of our whole bodily and emotional knowledge. The digital forms that we become seemingly immersed in, has actually stripped away the tactile, bodily knowledge, a sense of place, history and individuality. I think my work is a response to this, to highlight the beauty of the tactile, the beckon the viewer to touch and engage with the object, with it’s textures, its rawness, irregularities and inconsistencies.

    And it is here that I believe my sensibilities are more craft-based. I attempt to bridge this to create more meaningful everyday objects that reconnect to a world where objects are filled with stories, a history, agentic power and embue the user with a humility. A reminder of it’s enduring nature. Often with a sense of history or nostalgia, but also look to the future and one gets the sense that these objects have their own stories to tell. It isn’t about fashion, but enduring emotional connections as is most obvious in the 'Endless Quilt' and 'The Unforgotten' projects.

    I aim to take a much more experiential and mentally engaged opportunity to create personal objects of kinship, being that of a family or a community or city. The aim with my recent works was to produce something of the ‘past’, certainly with a hint of nostalgia – yet through technological processes that are firmly rooted into contemporary digital practice. 

    L-R credits:  Instagram images via @mjr_coaster and @nava_visualarts

    This project (attendance to the conference) has been funded by the Western Australian Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts. 

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    Earlier this month legendary Paula Antonelli, Museum of Modern Art design curator spoke at the Octogon Theatre, WA on the politics of design. Based on the Dunne and Raby "a/b" manifesto, she spoke about the changing role of design in making the audience think, question, provoke and speak about consumption itself. 
    She told her story on deciding when, and what the implications would be, to stop the nutrients being delivered to the 'coat' made of body tissue in the "Victimless Leather- A prototype of Stitchless Jacket gown in a Technoscientific body" installation by Tissue and Culture Art Project (Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr). Confronting stories, fascinating projects and an entertaining talk.
    Paula believes we are moving away from the the functional role of design towards a critical design phase that makes us question our world of 'things' and our relationship to it. Of course, I agree with everything this woman says, but then, who in their right mind would disagree with this design behemoth. 

    L-R image credits; Dunne and Raby "a/b" manifesto dunneandraby.co.uk; Paula Antonelli Photo by P. Forlano; 'Victimless Leather' via pinterest. And despite the play on scalePaula is not wearing the victimless leather jacket from the exhibition. 

     

     

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    Design Alchemy 24 September 2015 | Comments (0)

    Parallels; Journey into Contemporary Making at the National Gallery of Victoria demonstrated the diversity of what being a designer, craftsperson or artist means in the 21st Century. 
    Despite the onstage debate on the differences between the craftsperson, designermaker and the "Artist", off stage terminology was of far less concern and many felt that was in fact a 20th century issue that had been put to bed. 
    In fact, as several of the speakers demonstrated, the creative industry is marked by some creatives performing as an alchemist. Formafantasma and Simon Hasan spoke of their inspiration drawn from raw material, historical research (even as far back as medieval!), testing and experimentation with material properties. 
    Formofantasma experiment with materials in a unique way that has had their Botanica series collected by the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. 
    Likewise, Simon Hasan experimented with boiled leather to reconceptualise the social meaning of leather, as well as it's material properties, transforming it from a material commonly associated with luxury and suppleness to a structural and loadbearing element as seen in the images below of the nightstands. 
    Koskela, a long time favourite Australian design practice of mine, presented their work with indigineous women of Arnhem Land. The collaboration between Elcho Island Arts and the inner sydney practice created a spectacular series of projects. 
    Most significantly was the woven pandanus leaf range of furniture applied to contemporary style, corporate meeting hubs. Another example of traditional materials being used in wholly new and innovative ways for the 21st century. 
    I enjoyed seeing the return to a tactile, textured and at times gritty surfaces, at times combined with the hyper smooth and mirrored finishes of simply contrasting material that don't age with the agelessness of patinated materials. Designers as alchemists and drawing our attention to the materiality of our world. 

    This project (attendance to the conference) has been funded by the Western Australian Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts. 

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    If Melbourne isn't already an arts hotspot, this week it's going into overdrive. Supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts (WA) I will be speaking at the National Craft Initiative Conference on craft and design in the digital age hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria. 

    The line-up is amazing and I am so excited to be involved. Details below from the NGV website:

    "Parallels; Journeys into Contemporary Makiing
    International Craft and Design Conference & Talks: 17 / 18 September 2015

    Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Making is a rare opportunity to hear over 25 leading international and local makers, designers and curators share their view on the changing worlds of craft and design.

    Looking both globally and locally this 2-day conference provides a range of informative, inspirational, and provocative talks revealing the shifting priorities and emerging opportunities for Australian craft and design." 

    This project (attendance to the conference) has been funded by the Western Australian Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts. 

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    We are very excited to be working on a Percent for Art project, that spans a wonderful 750 sqm. An amazing opportunity to create something spectacular for our clients. Due to open in 2018, but we are already busy working on the schematics. 

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    Why do I focus on fewer projects but with greater meaning? McDonough explains it beautifully in this talk. Unfortunately many cradle-to-cradle materials are not available in Australia -sigh- or require significant transportation adding to carbon footprint, so its a tough call at times. But one thing I can contribute is to try my darndest to create objects of emotional longevity to avoid disposability for the sake of fashion. 

    The wisdom of designing cradle to cradle

     

     

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    Busy on a new installation incorporating the 'Expectant' console... exhibition opening soon. 

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    Aerial photography at it's best allows us to see the natural and man made world in a whole new way. Thanks to daily overview for their great photography with this picture below of our very own pilbara mine. Click on the image for the link.

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    It's been a busy and exciting week- a finalist in the inaugural Australian Furniture Design Awards of 2015 by Stylecraft and the Jam Factory in Adelaide. Thrilled to be amongst the other very talented designers as a finalist.  I'm looking forward to the interview in early July and presenting my work to the esteemed judges; see or click on the below for more details.

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    I was fortunate enough to present my paper on "Making Custodians" through design as part of the fanastic Unmaking Waste conference organised by The University of South Australia. Truly inspiring speakers such as Prof. Stuart Walker, Design professor and philosopher Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos; gave a global perspective to the extensive problems of waste and, unfortunately, the design industries' contribution to this pervasive problem. However the proposed solutions and varied approaches of so many devoted individuals to this area is inspiring. I came away even more committed to working with 'waste' as useable materials and creating heirloom objects with meaning. (Endless Quilt was made entirely of offcuts intended for disposal.)  Click on the image for details, the presented papers will be available from August 2015.

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    Well... all the skeletons are out of the closet now! Glen and I were featured this week in the much loved 'Yin and Yang' series in the 'Weekend West'. Will Yeoman reports on two 'opposites' who work, live or combine their complimentary personalities to produce something positive. We were thrilled to be asked for an interview. And can't you just tell by our unusually big smiles. 

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    Our article in the Fremantle Gazette newspaper, April 28, 2015

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    Thanks to the Design Institute of Australia  for inviting Composite Components and I to discuss our recent work together. A great location, with a lovely crowd to share our experiences and work with.

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    We are now in the final stages of the Perth International Airport acoustic wall/ art installation. The perforated wall was designed using generative software and depicts the transition from earth to sky, with an aerial view of Perth's Swan River and a quote from Nyungah elder, Doolann Leisha Eatts. Part of the timber sculpture is up and within a month it should all be installed. I hope I can do my home-town proud. 

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    I'm so pleased and privileged to see my work selected as part of a new exhibition at The Art Gallery of WA on Australian design. And great to have it topped off with a review of my work in 'The Weekend West' starting with the words "One such remarkable piece...".

     

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    Perth Airport 06 August 2014 | Comments (0)

    Six months after being awarded the contract, we are now at the exciting final stages of the construction of the Perth Airport's new arrival hall artwork.

    More information on the imminent changes to Perth Airport can be seen via this link:

    http://seeperthairporttransform.com.au/artwork/t1-international-arrivals-acoustic-wall/

     

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