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Category Archives: Interviews
Helsinki based designer Willem Heeffer has a “can do” attitude. When he was commissioned to create a lighting and accessory range for the new American restaurant Midhill Diner for top chef Hans Välimäki, he knew the industrial styled interior (by Martina Rosenqvist and Vera Öller) needed to be complimented with an eye catching icon that captured the American theme – Enter the world recognised but humble baked bean can.
In total, Willem individually sourced 334 recycled cans from numerous restaurants. As if this task was not difficult enough, he then individually cleaned each one – a grand feat in itself! Once all traces of beans and sauce were removed, Willem transformed the cans into statement lighting “candeliers”, bar lights and cutlery holders.
Amidst all the excitement of the Midhill Diner opening just yesterday, Willem spoke to State of Green about his latest design;
1. What inspired you to use baked bean cans in this project? The Baked Bean can light is an old product of mine. It suited this project well as it hints towards pop culture which suits the American style diner.
2. How long did it take to collect all 334 cans? I think it took a total of six weeks making daily journeys to the local restaurants, pizzerias and oil recycling centers. All got to know me pretty well!
3. Did you face many challenges in the collection, cleaning and design of the chandelier/candeliers?? I am a good organizer so solved little issues on the way but nothing big. Sometimes it was hard to keep up a positive attitude when surrounded with so many dirty cans, and to maintain the belief that something cool will be coming from it.
4. What has the feedback been like from patrons attending the Midhill Diner? It has only been opened for a day, but so far all the iphones are coming out taking lots of pictures…
5. Do you have any other exciting projects in the pipeline? I am working on a bigger series of products and one of them is the washing machine drum light. Not a true original but I am sure I can bring it to the next stage!
If you have the perfect spot for your very own iconic baked bean can light, or if your palette tends more towards Campbells Tomato Soup, Willem is happy to make one for you – Just pop on over to his website to check them out!
Joanne Crocker is a girl after my own heart – She is so passionate about how our daily lives impact upon the planet, that she decided to do something about it. With a background in the homewares industry, she has just opened a new online store based in Sydney named Upcycle Studio. There, you can find all manner of smart looking homeware and lifestyle products from haversacks, to ottomans, belts and rugs ~ but the difference is that all are either upcycled, recycled, reclaimed or repurposed.
To celebrate the launch of Joanne’s store she is generously offering one State of Green reader the chance to win a floor rug from her Trash Garden collection valued at up to $400! (Entry details at the bottom of this page!!)
Before flying down to the bottom of this giveaway to sign up to win, Joanne provided us with a peek into her new business and the ethos and inspiration behind her new business;
1. Why did you decide to launch Upcycle Studio? I always had a love for good, innovative design that had a particular attention to detail. It’s easy in our era to become brainwashed and swept up into thinking that it’s ok to continue to consume in excess with little to no regard as to the consequences our decisions have on our planet.
Having come from a background in Interiors and buying for the Homewares industry for over 12 years, it became really evident that too many people just didn’t care. While there are many choices out there for those that want to contribute positively to our planet many of them are unaffordable or simply just overpriced. If we are going to make changes to our buying and consumption habits consumers need affordable choices that are easily accessible. With a shift in thinking at all levels from manufacturers, to retailers and finally to the consumer we can make the right changes so that eco friendly products are no longer a niche industry but a mainstream choice that becomes the norm. Strength in numbers I say. The more of us behind supporting and protecting our environment the better the prospects are for the planet and its future.
2. What’s your favourite product of the moment? The plastic bag ottomans and baskets. They’re hand woven in Cambodia from plastic bags that are reclaimed from streets, landfill and waterways. Once collected they’re washed, colour matched, cut into strips and then woven to create amazing and practical pieces that are super affordable. A 60cm ottoman removes 280 plastic bags from landfill which otherwise would have taken hundreds of years to break down. The final product is bright, durable, water proof and can be filled with your own plastic bags or better yet fill them with blankets, linen or towels for extra storage. An all-round great choice for eco-friendly, affordable, comfy seating that will brighten up any space.
3. Upcycle Studio is a brand new business. What are the highlights of being a new business owner? Anything that you invest late nights and countless hours in you have to love. The number one best thing about being a business owner is that you can pursue something that you’re passionate about, direct your energy towards what it is that you feel is important and hopefully make a difference.
4. What can we expect to see from Upcycle Studio in the future (any sneek peeks?) The most amazing bags from Katcha Bilek in England. Handcrafted from Inner Bike tubes and reclaimed seat belts, they are truly a work of art. Every piece is unique and special in its own way, making them an ideal purchase for someone looking for quality, craftsmanship and outstanding design. Messenger Bags, handbags, travel bags, clutches, wallets and belts. There is an incredible selection that will be hitting Australian shores very soon and all will be exclusive through Upcycle Studio.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: Think twice…think twice about what it is that you really need. Plastic is one of our biggest issues on the planet right now. It’s filling our landfills and our oceans quicker than our earth can process it. No one yet knows exactly how long plastic takes to completely break down, but scientists estimate between hundreds if not millions of years which makes it virtually impossible for us to simply make it disappear. Think really long and hard when you head out on your next shopping visit….Can you carry that takeaway on its 2 minute journey to the car without a plastic bag? Do you need to buy all of your produce pre-packed in plastic cartons and wrappers? Do you really need to consume all of your coffee and drinks in disposable cups and plastic bottles
every time you’re out and about, or can you invest in a reusable cup or bottle? It’s a small sacrifice for each of us to help make an enormous difference and if we’re all working together every little change is a step in the right direction.
every time you’re out and about, or can you invest in a reusable cup or bottle? It’s a small sacrifice for each of us to help make an enormous difference and if we’re all working together every little change is a step in the right direction.
~~ GIVEAWAY DETAILS ~~
To go in the draw to WIN your choice of an upcycled floor rug (Value up to AUD$400), please head on over to the Upcycle Studio store and tell us your favourite rug design in the ‘Comments” field below this post. The winner will be drawn at random on Sunday 5 May 2013 after 7pm. Goodluck!
NB: This giveaway is open to Australian residents only.
Terrariums have gained a resurgence of sorts over the past two years, with beautifully crafted mini landscapes popping up inside all manner of glass receptacles. The most recent take on terrarium design that has caught my eye is from a brand new Melbourne based business, named RAW. Reinterpreting the more traditional moss laden terrarium, freelance graphic design Caitlin Wynne instead creates sandy beach terrariums suspended in traditional hand knotted macrame hangers.
Caitlin has graphic design running in her blood. Her grandfather was also a graphic designer and sign writer, and her own passion was ignited after completing her degree in Communication design and living in Denmark for 4 years. There, she embraced the Danes eco friendly way of life, got involved in the craft of macrame and upon her return to Australia decided to combine her love of all things knotty, sustainable and beachy to create the beachy terrariums.
Caitlin is one lovely lass, and was ever so gracious to be featured on State of Green. She graciously shared with us a little more about her brand new business;
1. What inspired you to launch Studio Raw and make beachy terrariums? I’m one of those people who have always had a passion for both handcraft and the outdoors, however this passion exploded during my 4 years of living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark is one of the greatest Eco-Friendly nations in the world and to them, it is just a way of life. This quickly became my way of life and fuelled my passion. Whilst in Copenhagen, I also learnt (amongst many other handcrafts) the art of Macramé. When moving back to Melbourne I decided to combine my skill in Macramé with my love for the garden and a very ingrained love for the beach. My Macramé Beach Terrarium Hangers were born. I originally started making these for my friends and family but then began receiving requests for these pieces and decided to open RAW.
2. How do you care for the terrariums to ensure they last? Each Beach Terrarium is made up of Coral, Shells, Sand and Air Plants. The air plants are amazingly easy to care for as they use moisture and nutrients from the air around them to stay alive. To maintain perfect health and growth of each air plant it is best to spray the plant with water once a
week and give them good (but not direct) sunlight.
week and give them good (but not direct) sunlight.
3. What challenges do you face when making terrariums? No two beach terrariums I create are the same. Each one is very unique and there is a great choice of air plants and gorgeous shells available. On the other hand, obtaining beautiful coral isn’t easy (especially living in Melbourne). Coral is really the charm and vibrance of a beach terrarium and in Australia coral is very special. Luckily my love for the beach and the underwater world has lead me to exploring Australia and has helped me acquire a great range of beautiful coral from the Australian shores. I’m very proud of my coral collection and love that I can send each of these well travelled corals on a journey to a new home.
4. Can you share with us what we might expect to see from StudioRaw in the future? I really hope for RAW to spread across Melbourne and to bring a little piece of beach, garden and vintage design into the homes of Australia. I will continue to expand my beach terrariums and macramés with new designs, materials and ideas.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: Fill your home with gorgeous greenery so that you fill your home with clean fresh air.
Hold onto your hats ladies and gents as there is a new textile designer in town, and I LOVE her work! Karen Johnston of The Print Society launched her textile homewares business just a few months ago. Over the past few weeks we have been talking on and off as she has been making her wonderful cushions and pom pom sling bags for the State of Green store, and she is an absolute delight.
Born in Sydney to an editor and a draftsman, Karen has over ten years experience in textile printing and design. She first studied Fashion Design at East Sydney TAFE, and later returned to study Textile Design and Printing. Karen uses hemp, yak (oh yes) and organic cotton base cloths, and hand screen prints bright and punchy designs upon them.
I particularly love the different prints and colours on each side of the cushions ~ you can change the look of your decor in a simple flip of a cushion, and their inners are made from sustainable PET (recycled plastic bottles)! Coinciding today with the introduction of The Print Society’s homewares in our online store, is our interview with Karen conducted just this afternoon – so it’s straight hot off the press!:
1. What inspired you to enter the field of textile design? The inspiration to create my own fabrics came years ago when I was studying Fashion Design at East Sydney TAFE. I found that the range of textiles available in Australia was quite limited and it was almost impossible to ensure exclusivity as a younger designer. I knew the basics of screen printing so found myself playing around with different ideas. A few years later I returned to study Textile design and haven’t looked back.
2. You use hemp, yak and organic textiles in your range. Why did you decide to use these textiles? Natural fibres are so much nicer to print on! They are beautiful to handle and have qualities that synthetic fibres just can’t emulate. However, apart from reasons based around aesthetics and manufacturing, I like to use hemp and organic cottons due to the environmental and economic benefits which result primarily from the nature of the crop’s growth cycles and harvesting techniques.
3. What have been your biggest challenges starting a new fabulous business? All of The Print Society’s products are screen printed and made by hand, making production efficiency a difficult balance to strike. So my focus is on reducing time wasters and improving processes wherever possible.
4. What can we expect to see from The Print Society in the future? I’m putting a lot of work into research and experimentation at the moment. I have a strong interest in art and culture, so you’ll see the focus start to move in that direction. I’m also looking at ways to take a more ‘free-form’ approach with screen printing, meaning that there’ll be less use of the rail for repeat printing, and more random placements during the process.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: For me it’s all about reducing waste. At home my partner and I are committed recyclers and composters. In the studio, nothing goes to waste, and the furniture was sourced from The Bower Co-op in Marrickville whose mission is to reduce the amount of ‘hard waste’ going into landfill through reuse and resale. Yes my furniture is amazing!
Thanks Karen ~ we look forward to keeping an eye on what you come up with next, and may just have to get a sneak peek at some of those wonderful furniture finds.
If you are in need of an incredibly unique and perhaps personalised gift this Xmas, OnStone may get you well on your way. OnStone recently moved from their former business in Brunswick, to their new funky digs in South Melbourne, and offer up a unique framing service. Upcycling old fencing and floorboards, the OnStone team carefully craft beautiful rustic timber frames, that have a point of difference ~ they each contain a special stone mix surface infill, on which you can print virtually anything! That’s right. You can provide your OWN special photograph, scan your kids first drawing, or sketch directly onto a plain frame yourself. Alternatively you can choose an artist’s image direct from their store.
I am a big fan of OnStone’s work, and have a few special pieces already in my possession. The stone surface is truly amazing. The “canvas” is firm to touch, but evokes a soft organic feel which lends itself well to everything from old photographs to beautiful artwork.
We spoke to the newly formed OnStone team, who shared the following with us:
1) You have moved to the other side of the Yarra to South Melbourne and changed business name. What prompted the move? We had a partnership split, and four out of five of us moved across the river to start again.
2) Where / how do you source your materials for OnStone frames? We have a farm in Cranbourne where fencers from around the area drop off old hardwood fencers and flooring. This saves them money, and they feel better knowing they’re sending them off for another life. Ian Thompson, our 75-year-old fence puller-a-parter has designed a way to remove the rusted nails without shortening the long palings. We also have customers that offer up flooring and fencing – this forms a lovely loop, where we gift back their timber as a frame with their family photos and memories featured on a stone within it.
3) Is there any limit to what can be printed on OnStone frames? No limit, really. Maps, letters, artworks, professional photos, phone photos, old photos, kids drawings – the opportunities are endless! Everything has a little more personality when printed on stone.
4) Which artists are represented at OnStone at the moment? We have a small collection of beautiful artisans: Mike Cheavz and his bird conversations; Jo Lane’s delicate feathers; Sean Whealan’s towns built within human forms; Kat Rhodes aristocratic ducks; and some photographs by Chris Prestidge. We’re currently hanging an extraordinary show of original pieces by John Santucci on the humble yet sentimental caravan.
5) What can we expect to see from OnStone in the future? Light. A lot of light! Nick is making a range of printed bedside lights and tables. Our new shop focuses on handmade products using good-quality-second-life materials with great creative talents. We currently work with: Chez Dre patisserie, Shelley Panton Stoneware, Kouch furniture, 1/1 lighting and Glasshaus nursery. The shop is such a lovely space to spend time in.
6) Share with us your easy eco living tip! (regular final question on our interviews) Easiest: To share things. It opens up communication, appreciation and possibilities. We love to share.
If you are in need of inspiration regarding what to print on your own custom frame, just pop on over to the OnStone blog where they share their fab creations. I can’t wait to see the new bedside lights and tables that Nick is turning his hand too…Watch this space.
Today I want to share with you a great Melbourne furniture store find. Tucked around the back of the Balaclava shopping strip, is The Cool Room. True to its name, in one large space it displays an eclectic range of funky new, vintage and recycled furniture, in addition to eye catching ornaments, lighting and all sorts of unique bit and pieces.
It is hard to know which way to look when you enter The Cool Room. A low slung recycled timber table caught my eye, followed quickly by a stencilled tabletop with vibrant red recycled steel legs, converted industrial table, modernist style lounges and a huge Campari sign hung across the back wall. And that was just the first 10 seconds of stepping through the door. Owner Ric Delbridge sources all the pieces himself – some are restored vintage pieces, others he has created using recycled timber and steel, and others are stylish finds he has come across in his travels.
It is clear Ric is passionate about each and every piece of furniture he holds, and can regale stories about how they were made, where they were found, or how they can be customised. Ric shared with us his inspiration behind his store, and the real reason he named it The Cool Room.
1. What was the defining moment to create the Cool Room? After a car accident I was unable to work as a nurse, so I decided to open a second-hand furniture store. I always collected furniture, and friends would say I had a good eye. It’s not really work when you do something you’re passionate about.
2. Tell us a bit more about the building of the Cool Room. The Coolroom is located at the rear of 133 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, between Marlborough St and Carlisle Street. It is accessible via the carpark. The history of the building is an interesting one. Previously, it was a carving room for a Kosher butcher that fronted Carlisle Street. As a result I found it easy to name my business, as the building was indeed once a coolroom.
3. What do you see as the benefit of recycled /up cycle furniture? By reusing, repairing and reselling furniture we reduce the amount of hard waste going to landfill. This is important to those concerned about the environment. Recycled and vintage furniture has a history, adding character to a room. Finally, recycled furniture can often be better designed and made, even cheaper than some current-day mass produced furniture. Personally I see recycling an important lesson to teach our children.
4. Do you have a favourite or memorable find? Did you keep it? Yes, it was a wooden toy of Don Quixote and his horse. I keep it in the coolroom protected under a glass dome.
5. What does a normal work week involve? The coolroom is open Friday through to Monday. The rest of my week is spent placing orders with my upholsterer, for recovering and restoration. Designing and ordering new couches, chairs and desks to be made. Searching out new finds for the shop.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s next for Ric at the coolroom? Well, you’re the first to know, but we have started to produce vintage and industrial style furniture here in Melbourne, using recycled timbers. We will continue to be a shopping destination for funky lighting, clocks, stools, chairs, lounges and that odd treasure.
If you want to talk to Ric about any of the pieces you see here, he is more than open for a chat. Alternatively, he is happy to discuss your needs, and can make you the perfect item of furniture you have always wanted – made with recycled timbers, recycled steel and even your own vintage fabric if you are lucky enough to own it! (Psst – you can also check out some of his pieces on ebay if you cant make it down to see him in person!).
Rear of 133 Carlisle St, Balaclava
(entry through Marlborough carpark)
OPEN: Saturday – Sunday 10-5pm
Spring has finally sprung in Melbourne, evident in the the bright blossom adorning trees around the neighbourhood. Tieing in beautifully with the change of season, is the launch of Another Vision Design’s bright coloured vintage inspired soft furnishings. The creative visionary behind these cushions is Swedish born graphic artist Therese Gustafsson. Now working and living in Melbourne, this is the first time Therese has applied her skills to textiles, and we love the result!
Bright yellows and oranges, soft aqua and grey, and steely blue feature throughout this cushion range which has been printed with solvent free inks, and plumped with recycled plastic inserts (nice and soft!). We spoke to Therese who shared with us a little more about her business:
1. What is your background and what encouraged you to become a graphic artist? I grew up in a small country town in Sweden surrounded by pine forest and lakes. When I finished school I bought my first camera and went overseas for a few months. I really loved taking photos and a few years later I decided to swap the pine forest and lakes for palm trees and ocean and came to Queensland to study photography. I had the best time! I spent hours in the dark room, experimented with infrared film, cross processing and Photoshop. When I finished the photography course I continued to study multimedia and I also did a year of visual arts where the majority of my work was pixel-based art in the form of digital montages.
This has led to various freelance projects and I spent the last two years in a small graphic design studio here in Melbourne. Illustration and graphics have become my passion and I have dreamt about designing prints for textile for quite some time now so to finally go ahead and do this has been so much fun!
2. How would you describe your design style? Minimal yet detailed and colourful, I believe in the saying ‘less is more’.
3. What inspired the designs on your current range of cushions? I wanted to create a range of colourful and playful designs with a Scandinavian touch that would suit both adults and children. I am a great admirer of vintage design, especially from the 50’s and 60′s. It really inspires me in all forms, graphics, textile, pottery and furniture. I love it!
4. Why have you chosen to use solvent free inks and recycled plastic inserts? To me a product that is eco friendly has more appeal. I believe we should all care and be more aware of the environment, every little bit counts! It also gave me the opportunity to support local Australian sustainable business.
5. Where can we buy your range? If you live in Melbourne you can find my designs at ‘Scout House’ in St Kilda (a beautiful store worth a visit if you have not been before) and you can contact me directly through my website www.anothervisiondesign.com
6. Share with us your easy eco living tip: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Donate your unwanted items to your local op shop.
Many thanks to Therese for sharing her story and new designs with us.
Listen up all – A new Australian sustainable textile brand named smith+purton has launched, and we are very happy to be sharing their range and an interview with the designers themselves with you. And if that isn’t enough, they are ALSO offering up a giveaway too. I do love it when we have the complete package!
Working from their somewhat chilly outdoor home studio north of Hobart, is illustrator and graphic designer Zoë Smith and her partner, print maker and furniture designer Daniel Purton. Zoë previously worked as a graphic artist in the garment industry, designing sleepwear for women and children. But it was after having two small pre-schoolers and seeking a better work life balance, they decided to pool their talents and launch a small screen printed textile range. In Zoë’s words, “things can sometimes seem to be simultaneously frantic and running in slow-motion”. Their children do however provide inspiration in the design process and proving useful sounding boards ~ ! (“Mum, why doesn’t this apron have any pockets?”….right, back to the drawing board!).
Zoë and Daniel shared with us more about their new business (and read on to see giveaway details!):
1.What inspired you to launch smith+purton? We started smith+purton because we wanted to work together, to have creative control over our work, and to make a contribution to the world of which we could be proud. We personally aspire to our home environment being a clean, pared-back space, with carefully selected, designed and made items that we intend to live with for the long haul. With this in mind, we design and make with the hope that others will want to include our products in their own catalogue of long-term treasured possessions.
2. How do you describe smith+purton’s style? We’re still developing our style as we go, but there is a strong illustrative quality to our work so far, and certainly for many of the ideas we have in the pipeline. Zoë comes from an illustration and graphic design background, and these two strands of design are what come through. There will be much more of the hand-drawn look in our upcoming products, but we still love bold slabs of colour and shape as well, and whilst we want to develop a signature style we are also wary of limiting ourselves. The hand-drawn pieces so far we would probably describe as fairly fun and light-hearted: a forest of cake servers and cooking utensils, a city of retro food canisters and drink cartons. We’d like to think of our current cushion designs as bold and funky, a great way to add splashes of colour and geometric shape to a seat. As much as possible we try to design in such a way that gives the viewer a few layers to delve into: a cushion of floating blocks that reveals an abstracted cityscape, a spray of squares that resemble an exploding brick wall.
3. Why is it important to you to use natural hemp base cloths/solvent free inks for your range? We’ve chosen to work predominantly with hemp or hemp-cotton blends because we love that hemp is generally grown without the use of pesticides, as it has few natural insect predators, and requires less water and acreage than a crop of cotton. We use solvent-free, water-based ink with excellent toxicity ratings and hemp-organic cotton, mostly unbleached, to try and minimise the impact of our making new things. It also means healthier working conditions for us! We also love the performance of these materials. The inks give a lovely soft hand feel, rather than sitting on the surface of the fabric like plastic-based inks, and the hemp-organic cotton blend gives you the sturdiness of hemp with the satiny softness of cotton.
4. What can we expect to see from smith+purton in the future? Our current, and indeed first, range consists of printed hemp/organic cotton tea towels in four designs and printed hemp/organic cotton cushion covers (filled with recycled PET inserts when sold in retail outlets) in three designs. We’re also working on printed children’s aprons, adult aprons in a hemp-cotton denim, tote bags, crafter’s fat quarters printed with our own yardage designs, make-your-own crafter’s kits…these are just the current works at prototype and design stage. We’ll also be branching into paper prints on recycled stock, both larger art prints and postcard sets to either send or frame as mini-prints.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: Our easy eco living tip would have to be: shop conscientiously. This can be as simple as evaluating how you buy your weekly groceries, such as aiming to bring home as little excess packaging as possible. You can also carry this ethos through to bigger ticket purchases, considering factors such as durability and quality of workmanship. We try and buy things which are well made and designed to last, so that we don’t throw out as often. This is one of our aims as designers as well, to create products that will last both structurally and stylistically, as well as being constructed from materials that have good green credentials. We use recycled card stock for our business cards and swing tickets, and aim to have as minimal packaging as possible for our products.
Thanks to Zoe and Daniel for sharing their beautiful new eco textile range with us. Can’t wait to see where you takeyour business ~ we’ll be watching!
++ GIVEAWAY DETAILS ++
smith+purton are kindly offering up a pair of their hand screen printed tea towels (Kitchen city and Forest)to one of our readers. To be in the running to win, simply leave a comment below by 7pm on Wednesday 27 June AEST! We will advise the lucky winner by email – Goodluck!