Header Illustration for The Typewriter Volume IV. July 2012.
My relationship with objects is a fraught one, as around them I am almost always distracted. Take carpet for instance. We commonly lay this form of cloth at our feet and after a lifetime of daily engagement with this quotidian object, as a designer I now begin to reconsider the role of carpet in my life.
The writer Angeli Sachs argues that in times of societal crisis, design begins to reflect a stronger link with the natural world. Sachs contends that “forms inspired by nature become topical when modern society finds itself in crisis”1 and then suggests “the use of organic forms is intended to bring about harmonization and reconciliation with an external world perceived as inhospitable or hostile.” I am intrigued by the automatic correlation Sachs makes between organic forms and historical crisis points. In contrast to Sachs’ statements however, what I regularly see occurring around me – particularly in response to the current economic and ecological crises – is a tendency towards ‘distraction’ rather than as Sachs’ statement implies, a collective yearning for the pastoral. My feeling is simply that we furnish our houses with carpet, rugs, drapes and throws to distract ourselves from the external world. To this end, something that fascinates me as a designer is the deliberate use of textile to function as both a buffer and a distraction inside the home. The use and manipulation of textiles is a growing interest both personally and within my practice. I am particularly interested in investigating production techniques and capabilities. My most recent work, the Cut and Sew Lamp, for instance attempts to replicate and exaggerate this idea of distraction, mimicking the soft ‘reconciliation’ of the carpet in the gentle bell curvature of the frame and the ease of the draping fabric. An additional ‘distraction’ is that these lamps can be manipulated in length to become, like our carpet choices, more – or less – obtrusive in the domestic environment.
1.Angeli Sachs, Paradise Lost? Contemporary Strategies of Nature Design, From Inspiration to Innovation Nature Design, ed. Angeli Sachs, Lars Muller Publishers, Zurich, 2007. (pp266)
Reclaimed billboard material, bronze wire.
Launched at Of Its Time, Depot Artspace, Devonport.
The Frances lamp shade is driven by the necessity of using resources at hand in difficult economic and environmental times: unwanted signage materials are repurposed as the body of the lamp shade.
Rather than using a rigid framework to stretch the fabric Frances draws heavily on the nature of the material to dictate the form of the piece. The form is held rigid at its top by a triangular bracket, while heavy seams down the sides hold the form open while letting it remain flexible.
Modular shelving system formed of loosely stacked boxes with dovetail corner details.
Prototype built by Russell at Silvereye Furniture.
Ash, laminated plywood.
A wooden side chair with expressed joint details.
Prototyped by Russell at Silvereye Furniture.
Number 2 of an edition of 7 shelves made from recycled cardboard cartons, 2008.