“I believe I have a responsibility to encourage people to have fewer things by creating designs that are more beautiful, enduring, functional and valued.”
Beauty, function, strength and lightweight were keystone factors in Allan’s early education on his journey to becoming a fully-fledged designer. Allan has been fortunate to be mentored by and collaborated with a number of distinguished people including his father, an innovative boat designer and builder. He taught Allan the value of good design. Allan also treasures learning from and working with Dr. Peter Costello, designer of the world class Snap, Locus and Reef chairs.
Allan’s thirst for knowledge extended beyond on-the-job training, undertaking tertiary level studies in the arts, science and commerce. As a result, his understanding of the process of design extends beyond product creation. Allan’s approach to design is about analysing complex situations and deriving practical and elegant solutions as evidenced by his business consulting.
Allan possesses a strong sense of social responsibility not only in tune with sustainable practices for design but also to the world around him. During the 1980’s recession, Allan decided to create a business in design and furniture making as a way of creating employment for young people. This trial by fire also solidified how important design was to making his ventures successful. The critical input of design also applied when Allan diversified his company to include kit boats after winning the Australian Wooden Boat Festival’s 2007 design competition for a recreational rowing boat.
This accomplishment continued the success achieved from earlier designs such as the Stave Stool, acquired by the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection in 2001. The stool also won the prize for ‘A furniture item with a major component that is based on the sustainable application of Tasmanian regrowth or plantation eucalypt designed for high quality manufacture and sale’. The Stave Stool remains in production ten years on.
“I have made a career out of new product development and commercialisation with a particular emphasis on design-for-manufacture. This has been very entrepreneurial in nature and has been a source of challenge and satisfaction.
Of particular delight has been integrating design, manufacture and marketing to provide a stable economic base for a range of valued jobs. This is one way in which I have directed my design so that it contributes positively to our society. Another way has been to focus on renewable materials, like wood, and to use materials sparingly.”
The idea for the Stave Stool began with wanting to use a laminating jig more productively. I prepared sample legs along with a mocked up foot-ring and upholstery. It was while playing around with the components that my wife Jackie said: ‘Why don’t we twist the legs through the centre?’ Even with the parts held together with packing tape, the novelty and elegance stood out. Then it was down to resolving the design details. The precise and clever engineering enables the Stave Stool to be shipped efficiently and assembled with pleasure all around the world.
DESIGN ISLAND PRODUCT SELECTION
MATERIALS: Laminated timber, stainless steel, latex foam, leather, metal fastenings, low VOC water based finish
DIMENSIONS (mm): 670 x 350 x 350
20 Huntley Street