Rigg Design Prize 2018

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2018’s inspiring Rigg Design Prize celebrates 10 of the best Australian interior design practices

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Interiors gets their hour in the sun at the 2018 Rigg Design Prize exhibition at Melbourne’s NGV Australia, which runs until 24 February 2019. Celebrating different contemporary design disciplines, the triennial prize focused on interior design and decoration for the first time in 2018, shortlisting 10 leading Australian practices. Each was tasked with creating a bespoke, purpose-built room in the gallery, responding to the theme of ‘Domestic Living’. The results are inspiring, suggesting fresh ways of inhabiting our homes, new trends and creative solutions to modern pressures. Even if you can’t get to Melbourne, check out our round up the 10 designs below…

HECKER GUTHRIE
Melbourne design practice Hecker Guthrie (aka Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie) bagged the AU$30,000 triennial prize for their graphic yet tactile installation ‘The table is the base’ (above). Riffing on the idea of the humble table, and its charismatic central role in domestic living spaces, the custom-made room plays with clean lines, form and scale. It explores the table as surface, support and enclosure. Judge Shashi Caan said, ‘Using only two elements – the simple form of the ‘Parsons’ table and terracotta as material – the project demonstrates the power of design restraint and curiosity at play.’


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MARTYN THOMPSON STUDIO
New York-based Australian photographer and designer Martyn Thompson’s space celebrates the ‘Atelier’, channelling the modern blurring of work and home life as an opportunity for creative expression. Bathed in light and shadow, his moody space features many of his own designs – including upholstery textiles, rugs, ottomans, wall treatments, ceramics, art and photos shown alongside collaborative, vintage, found and hand-crafted pieces. Even Thompson’s records, shoes and fleamarket finds make the cut. Clothes are hung like artworks and ambient music generates emotion. Flexible and ever-evolving, this is the home as heartland, layered, textural and deeply personal.


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DANIELLE BRUSTMAN
Like a chic spaceship or cool club, Danielle Brustman’s installation ‘Inner-Terior’ is somewhere we’d like to hang out. It helps that it stars a contemporary update of a cocooning, conversation pit and a futuristic record player (shown above right). A set designer before founding her Melbourne studio, Brustman drew on theatrical aesthetics for this curvy white space, edged with vibrant colour, glossy metallics and eye-catching illuminations. A lounge room that borrows from stage and spectacle, it takes its cues from Art Deco bandshells, European retro-futurist designs from the 60s, 80s movie Xanadu, rollerskating rinks and amusement rides. We reckon it’s 2001: A Space Odyssey gone domestic.


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THE SOCIETY INC BY SIBELLA COURT
Stylist and author Sibella Court, of Sydney interiors store The Society Inc, has always had a love affair with global curios, vintage finds, old tools, pirates and gypsies. For her Rigg Prize entry, dubbed the ‘Imaginarium’, she envisaged a space to ‘wonder, imagine, interact, research and create’. An entire home distilled into a single room, it feels darkly magical, with a rich mix of materials from pressed metal to wood and fabric. Layers of textures and colours, old and new, and real and imagined offer a modern take on a 16th-century ‘cabinet of curiosities’. The space celebrates craft, with displayed objects, including a striking feature wall, acting as a catalyst for memory and imagination. From an alchemy workshop to a ship’s crow’s nest, a bar, dress-up cupboard and pot-belly stove, it’s a mini world of wonders.


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RICHARDS STANISICH
Texture rules in the mesmerising tone-on-tone sculptural installation crafted by Richards Stanisich, titled ‘Our natural needs in a digital world’. The Sydney practice, established in 2018 by former SJB talents Jonathan Richards and Kirsten Stanisich, addresses our fundamental need for shelter, sanctuary, hygiene and intimacy and how it has been transformed by integrated technology and the Internet of Things. A central ochre living, sleeping and kitchen space champions the handmade, simple and earthy, with natural fabrics, ceramics and tiles. By contrast, it’s surrounded by black gloss tiles edged with blue light, representing the digital realm.


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FLACK STUDIO
Melbourne interior architecture firm Flack Studio has a way with vibrant colour, bold pattern and unexpected details, as seen in their striking portfolio of residential spaces, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. For the Rigg Prize, David Flack and his team ‘Flackify’ their living/dining space with saturated gold hues, luxe textures and quirky art and ornaments. ‘We’ve boundless plains to share’ references diversity and inclusion, creating an emotionally charged room for a golden age in Australia, encouraging collaboration and community.


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ARENT&PYKE
Elegance and beauty are at the heart of ‘Home: feast, bathe, rest’ by Sydney interior design studio Arent&Pyke (Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke). The smartly zoned space combines areas for dining, washing and retreating, offering ideas for respite and emotional and physical wellbeing in a stressful world. Each area includes a contemporary Australian artwork and a bespoke piece of furniture, blending inspiring design-art with comforting, restorative simplicity.


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AMBER ROAD
Sydney interior design and landscape practice Amber Road’s seductive space ‘Take it outside’ is full of burnt colours, floaty textiles and dreamy desert and starlit views, centred around an inviting lounger. It celebrates the verandah or porch as a key transitional zone for relaxing and chatting together, especially in Australian homes. Principal designers and sisters Yasmine Ghoniem and Katy Svalbe spent time in the Middle East, as well as on their family farms in Australia, capturing this heritage in a beautifully crafted indoor-outdoor room.


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DAVID HICKS
Have homes become inner sanctums, fortresses or vessels for consumerist ideals? Melbourne- and LA-based David Hicks studio presents ‘Panic room’, combining Hicks’ trademark eye for luxe detail with lighting strung on chunky chains and threatening screens. It’s a slick satire on our panicked, media-saturated times, suggesting a life on stage, voyeuristic and yet paranoid about threats from outside. Has the aspirational ideal of a perfect life morphed into homes as psychological retreats and cocoons for self-protection?


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SCOTT WESTON ARCHITECTURE DESIGN
A sequence of six rooms forms ‘Wunderkammer’, an installation by Sydney-based Scott Weston Architecture Design which takes its cue from the renovation of Weston’s own Victorian Italianate terrace house, Villa Carmelina. Each contains a cabinet, or wunderkammer, featuring prized ‘jewels’, miniature artworks by favourite makers. An abstract representation of the house, it makes use of monochrome dioramas with coloured highlights and wallpaper vignettes or ornaments and collectibles.

Catch the Rigg Design Prize 2018 at Level 3, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne until Sunday 24 February 2019 (10am-5pm) or see the gallery’s website for a virtual tour and online interviews with the designers

Sydney Design Festival Top 12: Part 2

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In Part 2 of our hot design dozen, we round up six more must-see events at Sydney Design Festival 2016

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Want to make the most of Sydney Design Festival? Our FizzPicks bring you 12 of the best events in town, from talks to trend forums and larks in an urban park. Running from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 September, the festival is full of ideas and inspiration for design fans, with more than 100 events. For yesterday's first six tips see Part 1; or read on for six more suggestions...


SIX FIZZTASTIC MUST-SEES

BREAK IT TO MAKE IT
Frost, Thursday 8 September (6pm-7.30pm, $30)
16 Eveleigh Street, Redfern

In talk 'Break It To Make It', influential graphic designer Vince Frost, head of Sydney’s Frost*collective, and Andy Bateman, founder and CEO of Everyone, discuss the challenges of running a creative business, and how you often have to break your business to remake it. 'What got you here, won’t get you there!' Continue chatting next door at Cake Wines Cellar Door.


COLOUR AND TRENDS FORECAST 2017
Space Furniture, Friday 9 September (10.30am-12.30pm, DIA members $25, others $50)
84 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria

Get insights into key colours and trends for next year from industry experts care of the Design Institute of Australia's 'Colours and Trends Forecast 2017', hosted at Space Furniture’s glam Alexandria showroom. Selling out fast, so get in quick.


DIGITAL CRAFTS
Arte e Fabbricate, 9-11 September (11am-4pm)
44 Gurner Street, Paddington

An exhibition of new work by Sydney duo Bernabeifreeman (aka Rina Bernabei and Kelly Freeman), Digital Crafts explores the interface of craft and digital design practice, handwoven baskets and 3D fabrication. You may know the pair’s covetable collections for Australian outdoor furniture brand Tait, including graphic terrace tables, trays and planters.


BAMBOO BIKE HACK
MakerSpace &company, Saturday 10 September (10am-4pm, $60)
1/17 Barclay Street, Marrickville

Bamboo makes its eco presence felt at this bike-building hackathon, led by Indonesian designer Singgih Kartono (Spedagi and Magno), at MakerSpace &company in inner-west Marrickville. Using the Spedagi bicycle as a starting point, this is your chance to tinker and collaborate. It’s aimed at those with some experience or interest in bike building, and you can bring your own wheels along. The cost covers materials and lunch. Designs generated here will contribute towards bikes delivered to 2017's Cementa contemporary art festival in Kandos, NSW.


KORBAN/FLAUBERT OPEN STUDIO
Saturday 10 September (11am-3pm, free)
1 Hargrave Street, Paddington

Crossing the boundaries of art and design, creative pair Korban/Flaubert (Janos Korban and Stefanie Flaubert) is known for bold metalwork. Tour their new space at this Open Studio event at the iconic former Sherman Galleries building in Paddington, and see why they were nominated for 2015's prestigious Rigg Design Prize.


THE REALLY GOODS LINE DAY
Sunday 11 September (9am-4pm, free)
The Goods Line, Ultimo

This fun community day celebrates sociable urban space The Goods Line, linking Central’s Railway Square to the Powerhouse Museum, along the spine of a former elevated railway (think a compact version of New York's The High Line). Music, performances, talks, outdoor table tennis games and food trucks will occupy this award-winning linear park designed recently by ASPECT Studios. You can also enjoy botanical or architectural tours at Frank Gehry’s undulating brick Dr Chau Chak Wing Building for UTS Business School, which rears over the Goods Line. Happy #SDF16!
sydneydesign.com.au 

Sydney Design Festival runs from 2 to 11 September 2016, with a mix of free, bookable and ticketed events. For more inspiration, see our previous five tips in Part 1.

Rigg Design Prize

Catch the last weekend of the Rigg Design Prize at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria for an exciting survey of Australian talent...

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Ghostly houses, pandanus-leaf pendant lamps and futuristic loungers… Australian contemporary design is celebrated in all its creative diversity at the Rigg Design Prize 2015, which sees furniture, lighting, accessories and installations on display at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria.

The triennial prize is Australia’s most prestigious gong for contemporary furniture and objects, with AU$30,000 awarded to an outstanding Australian design practitioner. Established in 1994, the invitational showcase is now curated by the NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, which looked for original, independent and current work. 2015’s winner, Adam Goodrum, was chosen by international judges Gijs Bakker (co-founder of Amsterdam’s Droog Design) and Wava Carpenter (a former Design Miami curator).

This weekend is your last chance to catch the show, which features seven design talents each populating their own zone with purpose-built installations, new and existing works. Proof that the Australian design scene is kicking goals…

Adam Goodrum
We first came across Sydney designer Adam Goodrum when his multi-coloured folding aluminium ‘Stitch’ chair for Italian megabrand Cappellini wowed 2008’s Milan Furniture Fair. Now he’s bagged 2015's Rigg Design Prize for his ethereal installation ‘Unfolding’, three miniature houses formed from transparent acrylic sheets with pastel-rainbow hues. They explore his fascination with 2D designs that morph to 3D, casting dreamy reflections. ‘I see the house as an expression of my career,’ says Goodrum, starting flatpacked but unfolding from experimental planes to an evolved form. An industrial design lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, Goodrum has also created standout furniture for Australian stores Tait (the sporty outdoor ‘Volley’ chairs) and Cult, as well as accessories for Normann Copenhagen and bespoke tables and benches for Canberra's Hotel Hotel. 

Daniel Emma
We’re huge fans of Adelaide design duo Daniel Emma, aka partners Daniel To and Emma Aiston. They create ‘the unexpected from simple objects using simple forms’, drawing on sculptural shapes, quirky colours and a playful sense of fun. 'It’s our version of existing geometric forms. It’s almost normal, but not quite normal.’ Industrial design graduates from the University of South Australia, both honed their skills at witty UK design store Thorsten van Elten. Their graphic room set at the Rigg Prize feels Memphis yet minimal, housing vibrant pieces such as their ‘Pick ‘N’ Mix’ table and bench for Tait and smile-inducing ‘Mish Mash’ chair and ‘Cherry on the Bottom’ light. Daniel Emma’s own-line ‘D.E’ desk accessories are home office heaven; their ‘Marble’ watch for Melbourne’s AÃRK Collective is equally covetable. 

Brodie Neill
We’d give Brodie Neill a straight A for his ‘Alpha’ chair, a solid wood, stackable A-shaped seat which drew admiring glances at 2015’s Milan Furniture Fair. It was first exhibited by Made in Ratio, the East London-based label founded by Neill in 2013. The University of Tasmania furniture design graduate is known for combining traditional craft and digitally produced designs in startling forms. Neill says, ‘I’m adopting processes that are more accustomed to the field of architecture, and physical processes more familiar to sculpture.’ Also on display in Melbourne is his star-shaped, slimline ‘Supernova’ table cast from recycled aluminium, his organic ‘Cowrie’ rocker in natural ash, clover-inspired LED pendant lights and limited edition chaise longues.

Korban/Flaubert
Is it sculpture or is it design? It's tricky to define Korban/Flaubert’s work, but this Sydney-based duo’s creations definitely turn heads. Australian metalsmith Janos Korban and UK-born architect Stephanie Flaubert bring a hybrid art-design approach to their Rigg display, which includes chairs, a sculpture/bench and a screen. Materials such as steel and aluminium are their inspiration, with the pair combining Korban’s metalworking skills and Flaubert’s conceptual model-making in abstract yet functional forms. 'We like getting down to the work’s emotional impact,' says Flaubert, 'what it does to your perception, the sense of your own position in space.’

Koskela and Elcho Island Arts
Sydney design store Koskela is known for its Australian-designed and -made, sustainable furniture and products. Here, partners Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky have collaborated with the indigenous weavers of Elcho Island Arts, based north of Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory, on a bold collection of pendant lights and high-backed wooden chairs featuring pandanus leaf weaving. The project provides economic benefits for the local women, and helps preserve traditional craft techniques. ‘It’s more than a beautiful object, it is embedded cultural storetelling,’ says Titchkosky.

Kate Rohde
Imagine being invited to the Mad Hatter’s tea party – and Salvador Dali had done the styling! Colours and forms are surreal, theatrical and extreme in designer-maker Kate Rohde's synthetic Wunderkammer, a dining room set created for the exhibition featuring a table and chairs, tableware and wallpaper. The magical, zoomorphic installation mixes taxidermy with powerful prints, and rainbow-bright cast resin vessels with animal pelts. Rohde graduated from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, taking an extravagant art sensibility into her sculpture, jewellery and design projects, including textile collaborations with Sydney fashion duo Romance Was Born. Her installation will also go on show at the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art until 15 May 2016.

Khai Liew
Born in Malaysia, Khai Liew arrived in Australia in 1971, and now crafts limited edition and one-off designs in his Adelaide studio. Having worked as a conservator and curator of Australian colonial furniture, Liew borrows from heritage techniques to create his sleek, timeless wooden furniture, combining beauty and utility. Here he's showing pale oak and maple tables, chairs and a wardrobe that feel traditional yet modern, featuring tactile details, cross-cultural references and subtly surprising shapes. ‘Beauty comes from taking something to its purest form,’ says Liew.

The Rigg Design Prize 2015 runs until Sunday 7 February 2016 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Entry is free; open 10am-5pm daily.

Photos: Brooke Holm