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Category Archives: Australian Design
Just in case you have been living under a rock over the past 24 hours, today we are sharing and celebrating Flemings Nursery’s top honours award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in London. Not only did they win Gold, but they also took out the covetted Best In Show title. The win was particularly poignant, as after 9 years of chasing the elusive top spot, owner Wes Fleming had decreed this was to be his last year at the show. “I’ve been chasing this honour for my whole adult life so to have been awarded not only a coveted gold medal but a Best in Show at the world’s most highly regarded horticultural event, is a moment no words can describe.”
The Trailfinders Australian Garden was designed by Philip Johnson of Phillip Johnson Landscapes. At State of Green we have been long time fans of Phil’s renowned sustainable landscape designs (see here, here and here!!), so were absolutely over the moon when we heard his inspiring designs were recognised in front of such a large international audience. “ Being involved in Chelsea was a dream come true for myself and my team. Winning an award amongst contemporaries of this calibre is absolutely mind-blowing. We couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved, it’s been an incredible experience,” said Johnson.
The Trailfinders Australian Garden centres around a stone gorge complete with running waterfalls cascading into a natural billabong, and an eye catching three metre high studio created by Australian Architects, Studio 55. Taking 2500 hours to build in 17 days, everything was planned and thought through right down to minute detail ~ even the studio was designed specifically for the Queen’s height!
So what are Wes Fleming’s dreams for the future now that he is departing this event? He says “ My hope is that someone will continue to carry the Chelsea flame after we have left our mark, as it would be such a shame to never see another Australian Garden entry to the Chelsea Flower Show in the future,” he said. Fingers crossed that Wes Fleming and Phil Johnson have just inspired a whole new breed of sustainable landscape designers from around the world to enter centre stage next year.
~ Flemings Nursery ~~
Images courtesy of GETTY
As flexibility in the workforce is increasingly supporting work from home arrangements, the search for the perfect quiet study nook away from the noise of family life can often be in vain. If only you had the perfect little spot down the end of the garden where you could disappear for a while. Well your dream could be about to come true, as Melbourne based Backyard Room could have you set up in just over six weeks, and in most cases a council permit is not required. Did you just catch your breath? I certainly did when I first spotted them!
At the basic level, which may be all that you require, the prefabricated Workpad measures 2.2 x 2.4m (from $15,840), but options are available for larger two story pads complete with lounge, bathroom and mezzanine bedroom. In addition to featuring sustainable timbers and design around passive solar principles, the beauty about each is that the floor plan can be tweaked to suit your needs ~ add or subtract bookshelves, kitchenettes and powder rooms amongst many other options. The mid sized BYR2 pictured still has a relatively small footprint 3.3 x 4.5m (priced from $39.250) and sports a green roof which not only looks great and functional possessing thermal heating and cooling qualities, but also helps it settle well into the surrounding landscape. Are you heading into your backyard yet to pace out the measurements?
Of course the options for use are endless – Instead of a small office space, the pads could be used as a workshop/creative space, guest room, gym, teenager retreat, pool room, woman/man cave – or all of the above at different stages as your household needs change. The only trouble with the Backyard Room, is you may end up having to fight your family for it!
Clare Kennedy speaks to artist John Dickson who used a pasta machine to create a set of striking monoprints for his Strip Show exhibition at McKinnon café Mr Burch.
Pasta machines are more often associated with food than art, but Melbourne artist John Dickson saw the potential to make more than linguine. The result is an exhibition of striking black-and-white monoprints, now hanging at café Mr Burch in McKinnon Road, McKinnon.
“When an opportunity came up to exhibit at the café, I knew I had to act quickly. To organise a press takes a lot of time, so I wondered what I could use.” Dickson’s ideas crystallised when, during kitchen renovations at his Melbourne home, he spied the small pasta machine languishing in the back cupboard.
Originally, he was going to use the mangle of an old-fashioned washing machine to make the prints, but that didn’t go to plan. “I went down to the junk shop, but you can’t find them any more unless they’re really special vintage things that you pay a lot of money for. I did find two, but they had big gaps in the rollers, so they were useless. Then I noticed the pasta machine works on the same principle, but with steel rollers and only this wide,” he says. “So I tried it and it worked beautifully, and I don’t have to rely on anyone else to be there”.
“The technique I’ve been using is monoprinting, meaning you get a one-off print, which is not that common in print making. The integrity of the print demands that you destroy the plate afterwards, so there’s no other prints made.”
So, what motivates the
artist, a graphic designer by day? “This is a relief from the discipline of graphic design, where I can just go in there and do as I bloody well like. Most of my other practice is painting. I don’t use brushes; I just use my hands, like a child, which is great fun. I go through a lot of rubber gloves,” he jokes. “It’s the old story, you do art from love. I can’t help but do it. I’ve drawn ever since I was a kid and I spent a lot of years doing cartoons for leftie magazines.”
Dickson has had an interesting career. The graphic designer at Publicity Works, also designed covers for the Australasian Psychiatry magazine for more than 10 years and worked for the record industry designing album covers for the likes of Men at Work. “They were friends of mine till they got too rich,” he says, grinning.
The artwork, which has a dark and foreboding tone – partly inspired by the skeleton in his studio – is loosely based on the idea of remembering ordinary people, the people whose names you never hear on the news. “These images are traces, echoes and shadows of the greater portion of mankind who don’t become stars or personalities or victors or virtuosos or champions or co-hosts. They are named after people you have never heard of,” he says.
~ Strip Show runs throughout May at Mr Burch café, 129 McKinnon Road, McKinnon, Melbourne ~
I don’t know why, but I’m drawn to lighting like a moth. Their sculptural form combined with a luminescence glow are quite magical. My latest find is no exception. Taking inspiration from junk shops and salvage yards local lighting designer Volker Haug likes using unexpected materials in his creations. In this instance, pegs!
The aptly named Peggy Sue is made from hundreds of timber pegs attached to a stainless steel frame
which twist serpentine like around it’s glowing heart, creating a beautiful sculpture.
Where would you hang this? I think it would look great in a bedroom, or perhaps a glamorous laundry room – you’d never run out of pegs!
I love discovering new local creatives who are designing fabulous sustainable products. Today my heart was all a flutter when I came upon Michelle Harvey’s hand crocheted jute homeware designs which she sells under the brand name Crayon Chick. Natural jute is given an eye popping lift with bright neon splashes at the base or top of beautifully hand woven sleeves which fit snug over glass vessels ~ perfect for holding fresh cut or dry flowers. I also love the idea for storing pens and pencils too – would suit me down to a “T” as I tend to leave them on bench tops all over the house.
Michelle’s homeware range extends to great storage bowls for all those other bits and pieces we have lying around too. Great for everything from coins, keys and sunglasses to the kids toy car or jewellery collection!
Michelle also creates playful garlands which would look great strung across a girls room. But they’re certainly not just the reserve of kids. I could equally see them hung across my office space to soften the room. And they look particularly good against vintage furniture finds!
If you love what you see, do pop on over to the Crayon Chick store for a peek. She is one creative lass who is passionate about sustainable materials and design. A perfect mix.
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I just came across Melbourne business Temono, who handcraft leather handbags, wallets and accessories. But they are no ordinary run of the mill leather producer. They are a local small business who use vegetable tanned kangaroo skin in addition to leathers sourced from tanneries with good environmental practices, paired with sustainable business practices to produce unique products that reek of personality.
Jarren Borgher and Toshimitsu Ota launched Temono in Tokyo back in 2004. Since then the brand has evolved, however what does remain the same is their continued use of traditional hand stitching, cutting and even use of hand operated machinery.
There are SO many beautiful pieces in the Temono store. The selection above showcases a selection of my favourites….but really I could have kept adding more! The soft teal leather shoulder bag would fit all my bits and pieces. I wouldn’t lose my bright orange wallet. The yellow belt would lift a pair of black jeans, and the notebook cover would protect my precious scribblings of all my great eco design finds!
You can find Temono online, or alternately you can see them in person at some of the cool design markets that are now nationwide major events – Finders Keepers, Bower Bird Bazaar, Handmade Canberra plus a wide range of cool stores across Australia.
The girls at Love Mae clearly know how to party, as they have just released a great new range of eco friendly party ware that will not end up in landfill. If you have ever tried to run an eco friendly party, you would know how hard it is to find attractive and colourful wares that are biodegradable. Even plain white paper plates are becoming increasingly hard to come by!
Begone plastic plates and cups. Love Mae’s cute range of cupacake wrappers, biodegradable plates and gorgeous treat bags set the scene straight away. Pair them with some fab paper straws, string some paper lanterns or handmade paper chains from the rafters and voila – the pretty sustainable party scene is set.
Thanks Love Mae!
Do you love a good brain teaser, enjoy building blocks with a twist or simply love a fun and stylish coffee table toy? Melbourne business Treehorn Designs have jazzed up their latest edition of their Balance Blocks with bright splashes of colour that beg to be played with, and they have just arrived in store at State of Green.
The timber used in each set is made from reclaimed Australian timbers, and the woody scent smell that wafts from the box upon opening is divine! I must say I did quite enjoy setting up various designs ~ every time I got a little more adventurous in balancing each of the pieces – and I learnt a bit about ergonomics too when my “design” came crashing down sending blocks skittling every which way. Both young and old are bound to enjoy playing with these balance blocks. They’re just too hard to resist!