Furniture Design

Australia has a long history of furniture design and craftsmanship, characterised by ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit and an emphasis on local production.

This category seeks to award one distinctive Australian furniture design project completed between January 1st 2020 and April 27th 2021. Individual products and/or product ranges developed within Australia, bespoke pieces, fixed and freestanding furniture designs will be considered in this category.

The Furniture Design Category Is Sponsored By Jardan
Johnny Nargoodah and Trent Jansen, Ngumu Janka Warnti Collection

The Walmajarri phrase ‘Ngumu Jangka Warnti’ meaning ‘whole lot from rubbish’, is the title of this furniture collaboration between Nyikina man and saddler, Johnny Nargoodah, and furniture/object designer, Trent Jansen. 

Johnny and Trent salvaged a selection of discarded aluminium mesh and used this found metal as the starting point for experimentation. The duo designed these pieces as they made them, starting with a mesh substrate cut vaguely in the shape of a chair, and together beat the material with hammers, concrete blocks and tree stumps until it took on a form that they both liked. This beaten geometry was then softened by laminating New Zealand saddle leather to skin the mesh, masking its geometry and softening its idiosyncratic undulations.

This project was designed to be an experiment in the generation of hybrid material culture and the outcomes were developed using methods that facilitate the most symmetrical collaboration possible. Johnny and Trent created their designs remotely, developing a collaborative ‘sketch exchange’ system to ferry prototype designs between Johnny’s home in Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia, and Trent’s on the south-east coast of NSW.

Revival Projects, Zero Footprint Repurposing initiative at Ferrars street

On half a South Melbourne block demolished to make way for new development, Revival Project have salvaged over 2000 lineal metres of timber beams, and are using them to manufacture furniture and joinery. This manufacturing is being completed in a workshop on site, and items will feature in the eventual development.

Sustainable Design or Initiative
Like Butter, Kittaparts

Like Butter aimed to develop a quality flatpack modular shelving system using only timber connections to be sold at the accessible price point of $1,500.

Furniture Design

One winner in the Furniture Design category will be awarded a $2000 cash prize. Up to two commendations will also be awarded.

Applications will be shortlisted by The Design Files team. Shortlisted entries will be assessed by two expert judges, on the following criteria :

Fulfilment of the client brief / project objective

Originality – something we haven’t seen before, something invented from scratch.

Visual Appeal – beauty, boldness, aesthetic appeal.

Craftsmanship – how well does this project demonstrate mastery of a craft?

Function – how well does this space deliver the desired functional outcomes?

Sustainability – how well does this project contribute to positive environmental outcomes, with specific consideration of local environmental impact, management and reduction of waste, water and energy consumption?

Visionary thinking – does this project push boundaries, does it achieve something bigger than the intended commercial outcomes?

Bonus points will be awarded to projects with pro bono or community focussed outcomes, and/or projects limited by an unusually tiny budget.

The Furniture Design award is presented by Jardan
Nick Rennie

Nick founded Nick Rennie Studio in 2001 after completing his studies in industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. With a penchant for simple elegant design, the studio endeavors to create products with a visual balance and harmony between the idiom and materials used.

Khai Liew

Khai Liew’s multidisciplinary design practice is based in Adelaide. The practice comprises a design studio and workshop, where highly-skilled craftspeople produce one-off design commissions, small-run furniture editions, and complete interiors. Khai himself is an expert in Australian historical decorative arts. His designs have been exhibited at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Design Museum, as well as Triennale De Milano.

Johnny Nargoodah and Trent Jansen, Ngumu Janka Warnti Collection

A collaboration between Nyikina man and saddler Johnny Nargoodah and furniture/object designer Trent Jansen sees salvaged scrap metal bent into structural forms and covered with beaten leather. The pair created the designs remotely, developing a collaborative ‘sketch exchange’ system to ferry prototype designs between Johnny’s home in Fitzroy Crossing and Trent’s on the south-east coast of NSW.

Furniture Design
Adam Cornish Design, MAKI Chair

The MAKI Chair is a vertical stacking chair suited for both commercial and residential applications. The elegant, ribbon-like design is made from timber.

Furniture Design
Real Non-Real, Formosa Coat Stand

With the intention of creating a functional and sculptural furniture piece, this industrial-inspired coat-stand by Real Non-Real activates transition spaces by integrating a rack and table ledge into one colourful structure.

Furniture Design
Ross Gardam, Breeze Collection

Over a 12-month design process, Ross Gardam developed the ‘Breeze’ table as a flatpack marble structure with only three fasteners. The top is Emperador marble sourced from a quarry located in North Queensland and the base is black marble.

Furniture Design
Biasol Studio, Strato Collezione Marmi

Inspired by Memphis design characteristics and the work of Ettore Sottsass, this collection of tables and accessories by Biasol sees geometry, texture and repetition explored through stone.

Furniture Design
Jordan Leeflang, Kilter

Emerging designer Jordan Leeflang’s ‘Kilter’ piece could be used as a bench or coffee table. The sharply pointed legs appear geometric in isolation but soften into a solid sheet when viewed from an angle.

Furniture Design
James Howe, J5 Credenza

The J5 Credenza explores the dynamic properties of light through surface texture, materials and form. The clean timber aesthetic is uninterrupted by handles, splined joins or visible solid edging.

Furniture Design
BoardGrove Architects, Stool Dolly

MPavilion commissioned BoardGrove Architects to design the seating for their 2020 season of cultural events to take ‘physical distancing’ into consideration. The bold, angular public furniture strikes a balance between conspicuous and optimistic.

Furniture Design
Koala, Cork Sofa

Global retailer Koala pioneers a new material that reproduces the functional and aesthetic features of leather but contains no animal by-products. This vegan innovation is used to upholster the brand’s new sofa design.

Furniture Design
Rosanna Ceravolo, By Product

Utilising terrazzo stone offcuts, Rosanna Ceravolo created a sculptural modular piece that could also serve as a bench or side tables.

Furniture Design
René Linssen, Union

Working within the limitations of the 3D printing manufacturing process, this coffee table by Rene Linssen is made using materials local to Canberra. The leg pillars are made from recycled plastic bottles printed with new technologies developed at University of Canberra and the top from acrylic supplied by a neighbouring manufacturer.

Furniture Design
Marino Made, Round Desk

Easy to take apart, reassemble and repair, this minimal desk by Marino Made is made for longevity. It is constructed from a combination of American oak and timber veneer to ensure pieces are removable and portable.

Furniture Design
Like Butter, Kittaparts

Like Butter aimed to develop a quality flatpack modular shelving system using only timber connections to be sold at the accessible price point of $1,500.

Furniture Design
Eva, Hideaway Table Collection

This collection of flatpack coffee and sidetables made from American oak can be assembled or taken apart in under five minutes without tools. Any offcuts are repurposed into matching timber coasters that are free with every table purchase.

Furniture Design