T&W Senior Stylist Adam Powell shares the secrets of the beautiful Easter tablescape he created for our Porto dinnerware sale event.

We asked the lovely Adam Powell to create something special for Easter using Porto’s on-trend copper pink cutlery. We didn’t expect him to pull a real rabbit out of the hat. Meet Mr Belvedere, the star of the shoot and the furry friend of T&W Buying Assistant Steph.

We can’t promise you an Easter bunny, but we can promise some of Adam’s tips and tricks to help you create a similar look, or add your own personal twist to his ideas.

Pick a scheme

Given the copper-toned Porto cutlery, Adam went for high contrast. “I decided to go for a more moody setting this Easter so I chose black and navy as my colour theme, tying it altogether with natural elements such as the eggs/ feathers and nests.” he says. “An easy way to tie a table together is to choose a few colours and repeat them throughout the table.”

Do it yourself

He sourced the nests from Tamara Turnbull’s Paddington store, I Like Birds, but you could make your own (here’s a tutorial on Homelife). He also dyed eggs of various sizes blue. Here’s how:

“The recipe I like to follow when dying eggs is 2 cups of warm water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of food dye. There are lots of natural ways to dye eggs if you choose to, but I’ve found that food colouring is by far the easiest and quickest. The length of time the egg is submerged in the water determines how light or dark it is. 3-4 minutes is best for a soft ‘duck egg blue’. Once out of the water, prop the egg on a drying rack or some sewing pins stuck into cardboard to prevent marking where the water runs off the egg. The tip here is the vinegar which helps to bind the colour to the egg. The shinier the egg (such as the ostrich eggs), the more vinegar you’ll need to help the colour stick. Also keep an eye out for white eggs, they will give a softer and clearer colour. If you want to play around with the texture of the egg a little more, try getting an old toothbrush and some paint and flicking some paint at the eggs to give them a speckled look.”

Levels of interest

The black wooden bunnies (sourced from I Like Birds) sit atop stacks of vintage books. Adam explains: “To create interest on the table it’s important to have multiple height levels. I had a look around my home to see what I could use in my colour palette to help achieve this. The vintage books are perfect, you have good control of height, they are a great platform to place things on and help to add to my fairytale story.” The glass cloches highlight the large eggs; you could create the same effect with an upturned glass or vase.

Here’s all the elements of the final setting, complete with a hessian fabric tie for the table napkin and a hand-stamped place card. “Try to find a playful and unique touch to add to each place setting,” says Adam. “I added rabbit pencils as a talking point and take-home gift.”

All that remained was for Mr Belvedere to take his place.  A consummate professional, he worked his angles perfectly and made all the right moves. Actually, he jumped up onto the table seconds after this shot was taken, but once he discovered the black rabbits had very wooden personalities, he was more than hoppy to exit stage left. We hope we’ll see him again soon.

Happy Easter from all of us.

For more inspiring ideas and egg-celent DIY projects, check out the Easter Tabletop Pinterest board created by T&W’s Head of Styling Jessica Bellef. 

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Our gorgeous Freesia Collection is full of sunny yellow – everything from rugs and ottomans to cushions, ceramics and even paint.  Our Flirting with Freesia Pinterest board is full of inspiring ideas about using yellow in your home – here are just a few.

Yellow means sunshine, lemons, light and life. It’s warm, vibrant and stimulates the senses, and how much you use in your home depends upon your appetite. Here we explore the options, from a single note to a full symphony.

A pop of colour

We know the words ‘pop of colour’ reached saturation point some time ago, but they’re an apt description for the effect of a single, perfectly placed yellow accent. As well as drawing the eye, these little (or large) bursts of yellow add a sense of fun and a cheerful touch, especially in an otherwise cool colour scheme.

Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn home appeared in Domino magazine a few years back. Her lemon yellow sofa is still making waves; it’s the perfect off-duty addition to the formal architecture and monochromatic scheme.

We spotted this grey and white kitchen on Design Sponge. It has similar grand proportions (it’s in Brooklyn too!) and quite a buttoned-up feel, until your eyes alight on the little stool and you imagine a child climbing up to grab the . . . coffee pot?

A yellow painted ceiling is an unexpected addition to the Paris home of interior designers Gilles et Boissier , as seen in The D Pages. If you don’t like ladders, think about a yellow front door.

Co-ordinate your colour 

If you’re ready to take it to the next level, think about using yellow more than once in your space, like a little recurring melody. This will take yellow out of ‘novelty’ territory and makes for a balanced, cohesive space. The second or third pop of yellow could be as simple as a bowl of lemons or quinces or a vase of flowers.

In this sunny bedroom, the yellow in the large artwork is picked up in the cushion and the blanket border, as well as the seat on the balcony. It’s still restrained enough for a bedroom, where calm colours keep things restful.

The yellow cushion and candle make this neutral scheme sing – via Dutch blog Enter My Attic.

Yellow works beautifully with concrete, providing a warm counterpoint to its industrial/brutal feel. Pale wood also plays well with these colours. Image via Pinterest.

In this high contrast interior by Sydney designer Greg Natale, a pale yellow bedhead is echoed in a padded ottoman and the more intense yellow of fresh flowers.

The full monty

If you’re up for it, go big with yellow for huge impact. This will work best in small spaces and where natural light is limited. In general, the richer the colour, the less you need. If you’re painting a whole room, steer towards more neutral, buttery yellows.

Melbourne interior designer Diane Bergeron used Scalamandre’s Zebra wallpaper to great effect in this playful powder room.

This yellow wall has a red undertone, which adds warmth adds real richness to the space, without being overpowering. Image via Pinterest.

Check out our Pinterest board for lots more ideas and inspiration.

Inspired? Shop The Freesia Collection now.

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Portrait – Bombay Sapphire.

David Harrison introduced Alex Gilmour and Dominic Chong, whose Evie Group is one of the ten nominees for the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award. Voting starts on 2 May 2014.

Both Chong and Gilmour have completed degrees in Industrial Design and a Masters in Design at Sydney’s University of Technology in Sydney. The two met while studying and formed the Evie Group design studio together in 2010. Gilmour was talented enough to win the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award for Industrial and Object Design in 2010, and that led to an internship with Marc Newson in London in the same year. She also gained valuable experience working for some high profile global companies such as Missoni Home, Georg Jensen and GM Motors. In combination with Chong who also holds a degree in Engineering Manufacturing, the Evie Group is able to offer services a across graphic, product lighting and furniture design while producing their own collection of interior products such as the highly acclaimed ‘Spun’ light.

Inspired by the classic spinning top, the Spun lights are available in several finishes.

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

We are inspired by simplicity in design and iconic Scandinavian, Japanese and American modernism, but have our own unique take on something that looks classic, yet modern.

Each product we design tends to take on its own form or character. We try not to restrict our design process by locking in an idea too early. We look and experiment with various forms, materials, assembly details and ideas on how the user will interact with the design, which in turn drives the direction of the finished product.

The positive feedback we receive from people that enjoy using our products as well as the design community also motivates and inspires us in our work.

Stackable Hex boxes in three sizes are hand-made from bamboo with aluminium lids and a felt insert.

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

Dominic: Getting my first industrial design job while still at university is pivotal for me. This made me see the importance of not just the pure design aesthesis and technicalities, but a holistic approach to design that had to consider deadlines, budgets, sustainability practicality, shipping, client demands, the end user etc.

Alex: The moment I decided to give up the stability of working for a company and start my own design business. This was a calculated risk that I was willing to take, being motivated to do my own designs and be my own boss! The pivotal point knowing that I made the right decision was winning the Qantas SOYA award for my first 2 designs and a mentorship with Marc Newson in London.

The charming Emily tea set features subtle curves and slight angles. 

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

We have many favourite iconic designs, however the Eames DCW would be the piece we wish we had designed. We love the simplicity of form that has lasted decades, innovation in materials and production for the time and of course its ability to not look out of place in any setting/environment.

The Robin lamp, also available with a black or white shade, has a bird-like aesthetic.

Can you summarise some of the benefits of working as a duo?

Our little duo is great! It has the benefits of constructive feedback, competitiveness to improve designs as well as the ability to bounce ideas off each other. We have similar skill sets but also each has our own strengths that really benefit our personal and client projects. This is a main reason why we are able to do a diverse range of designs from products, interior projects, desktop publishing, presentation and digital design for events.  Some might say it is best to focus on one field, however, we enjoy the diversity this multidisciplinary approach allows us to utilise different skill sets across projects. This also makes each work day new and exciting.

The Silhouette is an exploration in conceptual design and material interaction – both an interactive art piece (above) and a seat for one (below). 

Dominic, you are originally from Singapore. Do you think that this comes through in your work? If so, how?

Even though Singapore is a westernised country, culturally, it has influences from the Chinese, Malay and India. Growing up surrounded by this diversity, I feel I am not locked into a single design approach or style but rather inspired by a range of elements and experiences.

Because Singapore is a modern hub, I was able grow up with access to wide range of interesting new products from Asia, Europe and America, which helped to take an international view of design early on (all before the Internet took off).

The Silhouette, a modular seating system.

There is a delicacy to your designs that comes either from the minimal amount of material used or the materials themselves (glass, ceramic etc). Do you prefer visually light objects over solid massive ones?

We do like simplicity in design. The minimalist approach is something we bring into our designs as we are not complicated people by nature. We like things to appear simple, be beautiful, and have pieces that just work.

The key for us is finding the balance in materials and form, rather than intentionally designing a light over a heavy object. The aim in each finished product is to convey a timeless aesthetic rather than being dictated by trends.

Find out more at the Evie Group website or follow them on Facebook or on Instagram @eviegroup.

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David Harrison introduces Andy Grigor, one of ten nominees for the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award 2014. Voting starts on 2 May.

New Zealand born Andy Grigor worked for several years in Ireland but has been based in Sydney since 2004. He has vast experience in the consumer electronics industry where he has worked for brands such as Breville, LG and Sunbeam. He was the recipient of a coveted Red Dot Award in 2008 for his Cafe Series Grill and Barbecue for Sunbeam and an Australian International Good Design accolade in 2008 and 2011 for his Pure Elements toaster for Sunbeam. His lighting design ‘Glide’, first presented at Launchpad 2012, has recently been put into production and will be stocked by new Australian brand Anomaly. Another of his more recent projects the ‘Albero Brothers’ coat stand is yet to find a manufacturing partner but is an ingenious combination of wood, aluminium and ceramic that draws upon the concept of the family tree.

The Glide light was originally inspired by a set of 1970s flying ducks hanging in Andy’s father’s workshop.

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

I have long had a passion for creating beautiful objects; this was realized at a young age. My inspiration comes from insights into everyday life. I love the journey of exploration, realising sketches into reality.

Andy’s Bam Bam Baby tricycle, designed as an alternative to the injection molded plastic tricycles currently in the market is made entirely of sustainably harvested bamboo.

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

It’s hard to pick a single point but getting my first professional job cannot be underestimated. I have also been lucky enough to win both local and international design awards.

The Albero coatstand is based on the idea of a family tree, with each branch customisable to a family member’s height and personality. Cleverly, each branch can also be rotated to fit any chosen space.

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

David Trubridge’s Coral light.

The Quarter Past pendant light s constructed from folded interlocking laser cut metal.

Your ‘Albero Brothers’ coat stand and ‘Glide’ light capture the essence of a quick sketch Do you like designing in this loose way and then resolving the details later?

Yes, the essence of the sketch is essential to my process, but I do believe strongly in the refinement of every detail. When I sketch my motivation to expand on the concept builds further. (I guess this answers your first question) I do also believe that true proportion and scale are derived from this stage,

The ‘Right Way Up’ lamp works in two orientations, with each shade having different perforations for a different lighting atmosphere. 

How do you assess the value of a concept before deciding to spend time on prototyping?

I have many sketches at different stages of exploration. I believe in quick prototypes constructed out of paper/card or other inexpensive materials. This helps me assess a concepts validity early and move forward. I like to handle the early prototypes and review their scale and form before investing financially.

Find out more at Andy’s website or follow him on Pinterest or twitter

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David Harrison introduces Liam Mugavin, one of ten nominees for the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award 2014. Voting starts on 2 May.

Prior to graduating with a Bachelor of Industrial Design at The University of South Australia, Mugavin worked in Mexico for twelve months as an automotive designer. He then travelled to Japan where he ended up living for four years and developed a deep love of wood and Japanese crafts. Mugavin was offered a position at Adelaide’s Jam Factory as a furniture design associate in 2013. This role enables the recipients to explore their craft through commissions and the study of techniques and materials under the guidance of some of Australia’s most highly regarded practitioners.

The Tangle light combines triangles with a central sphere.

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

I find that the good ideas come during those quiet moments when my conscious mind isn’t preoccupied. Concepts often appear just before I go to sleep. If I’m excited by them in the morning I’ll make a prototype. If I’m still excited by the prototype after a month or so I’ll develop a product. For me excitement comes from the unexpected, small surprises that make a good design and that excitement is what motivates me to see a design through to production.

The Palate cheese and wine platter solves one of the greatest problems facing partygoers. Made from laminated American cherry veneer, it is perfect for functions, picnics, and dinner parties. 

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

Coming to Adelaide in the start of 2013 to join the Jam Factory and to launch my own practice was definitely a turning point. At the Jam I’m surrounded by so many talented craftspeople, designers and opportunities.  This year there is an awesome design buzz in the furniture studio with the appointment of John Goulder as our Creative Director. As a mentor, he brings so much to the table with his industry experience and approach to Australian made design. The other furniture associates are a talented bunch and all come from different backgrounds. We’re constantly evaluating, criticising and pushing each other’s work. It’s simply the best environment for me to be in at this point in my life.

The Tangle table in American oak is constructed using three equilateral triangles, reinforced with hidden joints.

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

Anything by Oki Sato the founder of Nendo. His designs instantly express such strong narratives without the need of words; they simply speak for themselves yet know when to shut up. I especially enjoy how his paired back aesthetic offers only what is needed in order to tell a story and nothing more.

The Circles table, inspired by the process in which cork is literally peeled off the cork oak, serves as a stool, side table and tray.

Can you summarise what 4 years of living in Japan has done for your design work?

Living in Japan really helped refined my aesthetic understanding and appreciation of details and craftsmanship. Much of Japanese design is about the underlying meaning and metaphors it presents. I’ve learnt that the more modest and understated a design might be, the more it has to offer in contemplation and imagination. My designs don’t strictly follow along these lines; I still like to mix in the Australian influence in my work.

The Tangle table, seen from above. 

You love triangles – what is it about them that you find so appealing?

Triangles are like beards at the moment; they’re in fashion. But there’s more to it than that. I love the simplicity and elegance of triangles and geometry in general. Triangles also happen to be the strongest structural shape. There is another common but less obvious element in my work, the line. The Toro lights are more about negative and positive space and lines, triangles are just the best shape to express this. Last year each design lead to the next so I ended up with lots of triangles. This year I’m exploring some new materials and new shapes, enter the circle…

Your ‘Toro’ lights are your first foray into a ceramic material – you tend to favour timber. Is this a material you would like to explore more?

I love the tactile and warm nature of timber, but don’t want my designs to be limited by it. I’m currently exploring copper and cork which are also very visceral earthy materials. The Toro light, which is a modern take on Japanese lanterns, needed a material that was lightweight and completely opaque. I explored numerous materials before I came across a high pressure laminated ceramic that’s manufactured in Italy and perfect for the design.

To find out more, visit Liam’s website or follow him on Facebook or twitter @mugavin

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David Harrison introduces Ben Wahrlich, one of the ten nominees for the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award 2014. Voting will begin on 2 May 2014.

A designer with Sydney based architectural finishings company Axolotyl, Wahrlich’s move to Sydney in 2006 kick started a self taught design education culminating in the establishment of the design studio ANAESTHETIC, established in 2011 with fellow New Zealander Kiri Hughes. With a passion for creating small domestic objects from candle-holders to speaker systems in concrete, Wahrlich has recently begun working in timber on cabinetry, accessories and lighting for Axolotyl’s new furniture and homewares brand, Anomaly. His understanding of manufacturing techniques goes well beyond these two materials and includes rotation moulded plastics such as his imaginative ‘Totem’ stools that stack in an irregular building block fashion to form a sculptural statement.

Ben’s Zig chest for Anomaly. Image – Steven Popovich.

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

Society has become so transient and wasteful in the past few decades. Too often I see cheap and poorly made products discarded on the side of the road at council collection days in my neighbourhood. These products have no emotional or monetary value, so it’s easy for people to throw them away. This is a big motivator for me, as all products I am involved in are very well engineered – built to last. I hope to think that the owners of my products still appreciate them in years to come and that perhaps they will become heirlooms for future generations.

Hide leather pendant lights in black and tan incorporate both modern and traditional manufacturing techniques.

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

The birth of my son in November last year gave me a new found focus on our future. He has given me the drive to push our company into a new direction and I hope to leave a legacy in design, for him to be proud of in the years to come.

Ben’s ‘Kodiak’ bowls for Anomaly are turned from American oak with a textured metal finish.

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

I often visit the Rose Seidler house in Sydney’s north. In his move to Australia, Harry Seidler brought several pieces of period furniture for the house that have since become timeless classics. One of these is a Womb Chair, designed by Eero Saarinen, that sits in the lounge overlooking the native bushland beyond.

I love the chair’s simplicity and it feels like it hugs you when you sit down, which is very comforting.

Each piece in the Kasa Concrete range, including the Jack Speaker, is hand-mixed and-hand cast. 

You have done a lot of work with concrete; what draws you to this material?

Concrete has a really nice aesthetic, it’s raw and un-uniform in appearance and is a relatively new form of material to use in design applications. As it is cast in a mould it also enables many design possibilities that are not possible with traditional materials such as timber or metal. For our Kasa range and Jack speaker, we spent many months developing a concrete formula that offers very high strength and illustrates minute decorative details in the mould.

The Zig credenza for Anomaly constructed with a concrete shell and fluted timber components.

You are the only designer chosen who didn’t do a degree in industrial design or something similar. What did you do to teach yourself design?

I have always been a very curious and creative person, even in primary school I would come up with new designs and invent things. I went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Uni and found myself excelling in Computer Aided Design, which I passed with distinction. Shortly after graduating, I landed a job in Sydney at a product design firm as a design engineer.

Starting off with a practical engineer’s mindset, I quickly established a strong knowledge of materials and manufacturing techniques which over several years has had a natural progression into the styling and execution side of products, due to my curious and creative nature that I have had since childhood.

I get inspiration from fashion and architecture and keep a keen eye on what other product designers are doing to stay fresh with trends and techniques, but more importantly to stay original.

Versatile Totem stools in a range of colours stack into each other for practical storage, and together form an abstract sculpture. 

Do you come up with a product idea first or experiment with materials and arrive at a product?

A little of both I guess. More often than not a product is determined by the materials and abilities of a manufacturer. I find that I work better with restrictions and constraints of manufacturers because it hones in on what is possible and what isn’t, so you get a quick idea of what tools you have to play with as a designer. Sometimes however, I will conceive a concept that will require some additional thinking to determine how to achieve the design. I have a pretty good understanding of how far I can push certain materials.

To find out more about Ben and his work, check out the Anaesthetic Design website or follow him via Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

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David Harrison introduces Rowen Wagner, one of the ten nominees for the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award 2014. Voting starts on 2 May.

Currently working as the Product Design Manager of Moose Toys in Melbourne, Wagner originally hails from Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Design at the University of Technology (UTS). While living in Mexico in 2007 Wagner worked for AirDesign, designing components for the automobile industry for companies including Peugeot and Volkswagen. Since his return to Australia Wagner has worked for clients as varied as Breville and Railcorp while continuing to develop his own collection of furniture, lighting and homewares. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the 2011 Melbourne Design Award in the Product Design category for his innovative Ellipse tissue ring. His award-winning bike racks for the RTA and Powerhouse Museum can be spotted around the Sydney CBD.

 

The Ellipse tissue ring is an elegant yet functional solution to the standard tissue box. Image – Penelope Clay.

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

I find I’m often motivated by frustration; discontentment with products we interact with. These experiences aren’t critical or life threatening. Regardless I’d like to think that when people interact with my designs they have an enlightened experience. Seeing enjoyment rather than frustration in the use of day to day objects inspires me.

A new design: canisters made from merbau with brass lids. Image – Stu Morley.

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

Difficult one. What immediately comes to mind is a small moment that happened 4 or 5 years ago on a bullet train from Tokyo. I noticed a sharply dressed Japanese businessman wearing a Tuerca ring, the first product I designed and produced. I wanted to say something but refrained and quietly enjoyed the moment. Looking back I think it was a realisation that my work could be enjoyed more widely than I’d imagined.

The Mantis clothes rack is designed to easily steer with a free axis wheel mount, and self-locks when rested on its opposite leg. Image – Stu Morley.

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

The Phillips-head screw (and screwdriver to suit). It has withstood the test of time, most people have interacted with it and his surname is uttered every time someone mentions it. Staple fasteners and tools like this have changed very little since their creation. On a similar thread I strive for design that is timeless and utilitarian.

Rowen’s new tealight holder, crafted from polished marine grade stainless steel.

Your objects and furniture designs have an elegance of shape that is rare. Is beauty of line a prime motivator in what you do?

Firstly I’m flattered to hear you use words like elegance and beauty! I think generally I’m looking for an overall balance in form. This involves line, proportion, volume created (and volume intentionally left empty). People respond well to design that feels harmonious, which doesn’t necessarily mean symmetrical. Ultimately I find people are most comfortable with objects that are honest. That do what they should do, and do it well.

A render of Rowen’s Grandson clock, a the modern evolution of the traditional grandfather clock.

Having worked on motorcar design, is working in a small studio and using self-production liberating or limiting?

My corporate design experiences have all involved mass production – cars, street furniture, toys. I spend a significant amount of time in factories in China designing for production in the hundreds of thousands. It is certainly amazing to be exposed to this side of design, however I find the contrast of my personal studio work refreshing. There is something very liberating about a limited production run in an age of mass production.

A beautifully crafted perpetual calendar. Image – Stu Morley.

You obviously enjoy designing metal objects – where did this interest originate or is it just a practical solution?

I love the permanence of metal objects. Perhaps it stems from my father who by trade is a jeweller, crafting bespoke pieces made to last beyond the lifespan of their wearer. Besides being malleable and recyclable I love that metal objects are maintainable. Silver, brass, stainless steel – all the alloys I use require a little upkeep. The idea of maintaining things has become foreign in our throw-away culture. I encourage it; my jewellery comes with a polishing cloth.

Find out more at Rowen’s website or blog or follow him on Instagram @rowenwagner

 

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David Harrison introduces us to Edward Linacre (above left) and Viktor Legin (above right), whose Copper Industrial Design consultancy is one of ten nominees for the Emerging Designer Award 2014. Voting starts on 2 May.

Edward Linacre and Viktor Legin have recently established Copper, a new design consultancy working on projects varying from lighting design to medical and environmental products. Viktor had previously worked for Melbourne design firm Map International for several years overseeing the product development of numerous furniture and lighting designs. His deep knowledge of manufacturing capabilities allows Legin to produce immaculately resolved and highly sophisticated products with a contemporary minimalist edge. He was awarded The Good Design Award, Australian International Design Awards 2010 for his ‘Easy Up’ down light. After studying and interning in product design in Germany, Ed Linacre returned to Australia to work for Melbourne consultancy Cp Design (now Annex Products) for 3 years before setting up his own studio. His inspiration comes from the fundamental structures, geometries and innovations of nature.  Many of his lighting products in particular are constructed using repeating elements that appear rich and complex in the final form but are simple and economic to fabricate and assemble.  Linacre received the James Dyson Award (Worldwide) in 2011 for his Airdrop irrigation system and was runner up in the 2013 Design Report Award for young designers showing at Salone Satellite in Milan.

Ed’s Nest light, which pays homage to honeycomb, was exhibited at Salone Satellite 2013, Milan.. 

What is your biggest motivator, muse or inspiration when you are designing?

Edward: It depends what is being designed. Nature is a constant inspiration to me and drives many elements of my design process, from an organic or geometric aesthetic considerations, to the embedded recycling in natures closed loop system of production where waste equals food. Our product industries ultimately need to mimic this. Many of Nature’s innovations have solved the environmental problems with which humanity still grapples. A simple beetle extracting water from the air in the desert inspired my drought response irrigation system. Solutions like these are invigorating. We need innovation in our urban environment, systems and materials that will hopefully build a relationship with our natural environment that is one of cohesion and cooperation, not repulsion. As product designers of the future, it is our obligation to consider the environmental consequences of our actions. It’s really a choice between being a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Also, seeing someone express pleasure through something I have been involved in creating is a big motivator.

Viktor: My main motivation would have to be the possibility of my work being a part of someone’s life or home. As I become quite attached to some design products in my life I feel honored that others may have the same connection to my products. It can feel like a massive responsibility to make products that people can love and live with.

Viktor’s Droplet pendant light is inspired by a droplet of water frozen in time and is available with a black or white aluminum spun top and an American Oak or black walnut ring.

What has been the single most pivotal point or event in your design life so far?

Edward: Either the legendary staff at Brighton Bay Design Art and Photography ordering me to change from graphic to industrial design, or my decision to study product design in Germany. I spent a semester tutored by Werner Sauer (Wilkhahn) and was able to pick up an internship afterwards at international consultancy Wiege, which threw me right in at the deep end. This completely changed my conceptualisation of the design industry and gave me much-needed perspective. Germany took my overly experimental design nature and refined it into a productive machine, gave me direction, and strengthened my understanding of resolution.

Viktor: As a boy I spent many hours in my father’s workshop, building toys. In the late 90′s when the yoyo craze hit I built my own using milk bottle lids, wax and bearings. I guess my advantage was that I knew what I enjoyed doing and what I was good at early in life. Possibly the most pivotal point in my life that lead me down the creative path was rebuilding my family home with my father. For the first time I experienced the feeling of creating something with purpose that I felt was a part of me and my family. It feels as if since I graduated I have been blessed with many opportunities such as working at MAP, being a finalist in Australian Design Awards, exhibiting at a range of exhibitions and lecturing at RMIT and Swinburne. All those components made it possible for what I believe was the biggest milestone for me which is starting my own business. Launching Copper Industrial Design has probably been the most rewarding experience so far, It has forced me to commit to my dream in a big way and start growing as a designer.

Ed explains his AirDrop irrigation system, winner of the James Dyson Award in 2011

What existing object or piece of furniture do you wish you had designed?

Edward: The bicycle – my daily transport

Viktor: I would have loved to have created anything close to Nikola Tesla’s work. He is probably a figure that is most inspiring to me. The quality and volume of his work is truly astonishing. I think being a designer is being an inventor.

Ed’s Topaz Pendants recently appeared in Houses magazine, in a project by Doherty Design Studio and Craig Rossetti Architects. Images – Derek Swalwell.

Edward, there appears to be a lot of mathematics going on in your designs; is this something that intrigues you?

Edward: Yes. I enjoy the resolve of mathematically driven form. I’m obsessed with polyhedra, fractals, and of course natural geometries, the way a sea shell and galaxy share the same mathematical spiral sequence.  A digital representation of an ancient mathematical design process, basket weaving, underpinned the Weaved lighting range; a true amalgamation of modern manufacturing and the artisan techniques. The resolve of mathematics assisted the creation of a structure that is lightweight yet robust, complex yet easily assembled, a form that is more sculpture than product, yet affordable. Digital exploration of random crystal formations led me to create an asymmetrical faceted shade folded from a flat sheet of brass; the Topaz pedants.

Viktor’s Balance pendant light are thin, steam-bent timber LED lights that can work alone as a task light or in a cluster as feature lighting. The sliding counterweight allows the  user to set the light to the desired angle.

Viktor, unlike many young Australian designers who produce their own work, your designs are quite technical and require sophisticated manufacturing. What attracts you to this approach?

Viktor: What attracts me to this approach is the challenge and thrill of achieving something seemingly difficult in a smart, sustainable, easy and affordable way without compromising quality. I think it is important to stay true to your vision and not give up too easily on your idea.  I believe almost anything can be achieved if enough thought has been put into the process. Sometimes conventional manufacturing methods can be limiting which is why having a good relationship with your manufacturer and coming up with alternative methods is critical. If you can get them to share your vision you know you can get it done the way you want it. The more minimal a design seems the harder it may be to achieve in most cases and I try to strip back my design as much as possible. A strong work ethic and a touch of perfectionism has been a key in my design method. Learning to be a self critic has helped me improve my work. A strong understanding and constant research into materials and manufacturing methods takes up a large portion of my design process.

How do your skills complement each other in Copper?

Edward: I design and Vik sands blue foam, and that’s how Copper succeeds. No really, Viktor is a skilled cross-disciplinary craftsman with a brilliant design-engineering mind; the consummate perfectionist.  Like Germany did, he continues to help me resolve my work. He is a minimalist, a disciple of the” less is more philosophy”, while I explore intricate constructions, mechanisms and patterns. Both of us have a love of natural materials, tangibility and a strong environmental philosophy. Together we can offer a client everything they desire. When you team up with someone who you can rapidly develop an idea with, someone you respect; who you can take criticism from, give it out, have a laugh and move on, you’re on a winning relationship and productivity goes through the roof. Another passion we share as team is teaching. I lectured ID at Swinburne for 3 years, Viktor 5, and last semester took we our first class with 2nd and 3rd year RMIT students. We ran the class like an extension of our studio, taught at our office, requiring real interaction with manufacturers, and fully resolved, market-ready products as an outcome. The students have achieved so much this year already, Eight of them reached the finals of the Edge at AIFF, one of whom took out the Concept award and is off to Milan for Salone de Mobile. We are very proud and feel lucky to have snagged a couple as interns.

Viktor: Ed truly makes a great cup of coffee and is good at writing emails. Besides that he is a genius designer. Ed and I first started working together on his honors project “the air drop”. Instantly we both recognized that as a team we are capable of some amazing things. We both have a very different aesthetic and skill set which somehow works. Since our skills don’t overlap our capabilities are amplified and we can deliver a diverse range of products and designs. Ed and I have contrasting styles as I am a minimalist and Ed explores geometric complexity but somehow we complement and enhance each other’s work. He tends to make me think outside the box and I seem to keep him more grounded. We seem to be on the same wave lengths most of the time and have a brotherly relationship. We have overcome tough times together and it has made us a stronger team with big dreams. Music is a big part of both our lives and we have the same taste in music and humor. This makes our work environment filled with laughter and banging techno to the early hours of the morning. Such a workplace feeds our creative spirit and enhances our positive outlook on life.

For more, visit the Copper website or follow Copper on Facebook or on Instagram @copper_id

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