The 2012 Design Island collection

The 2012 Design Island collection
Design informed by respect of material and tradition.

Humans, by their very nature, possess an urge to continually develop new ideas and create new objects. When surrounded by objects, questions arise: what makes something stand out, what makes something special and how can the object influence emotion.

In a heavily commoditised global market, how does one carve a niche, how can a designer break free from the mold and create objects that not only perform their primary function but add value in the process.

Design Island is about seeking out and promoting designers and objects that give that little bit more, objects that go beyond task alone and provide that extra something. In 2012, the Design Island showcase highlights the best of Tasmanian object design and small scale production.

For many, the term ‘production’ conjures images of cold, lifeless machinery, producing endless lines of the same. For Design Island, production is a process of designing a system suitable for repetition by hand. To excel, this system must be informed by a deep respect and knowledge that allows for the anomalies inherent in raw materials.

For designers like Anita Dineen and her award-winning Glide gourmet knife, production is a fine balance of industrial processes and intimate hand finishing. Dineen's process takes a cold rigid material and gives it a life and beauty beyond function; yet it was function that informed design.

For others like Oakwood Design's Brad Moss, production is about process while allowing variation of form and object. Decades of dedication to process and material knowledge allow Moss to efficiently replicate texture and form. His system allows for repetitive experimentation and deviation.

Like Moss, Indeco's Patrick Senior is informed by process. His technical skill and design sensibilities produce products of exquisite simplicity through complex processes to ensure pinpoint accuracy.

There is also a new breed of designer with the introduction of The Hatchery's Nathan Freeman, who skillfully exploits ‘computer numerical control’ (CNC) technology to produce the most delicate and refined objects from discarded Corian®. Dave Houbaer and Alec Balcombe who established DHAB Studios after recently graduating from the University of Tasmania's School of Architecture and Design also combine CNC technology with salvaged materials in innovative ways.

Design Island also welcomes the re-introduction of some classics with Alan Livermore re-working a series of small furniture items from the 1980s. Most would argue that nothing good came from the 80s (think fluro socks and Rick Astley) but Livermore's 'Nest' tables cut a contemporary figure in the modern home.

While vastly different in process and practice, all of the designers involved in Design Island share a common respect for tradition, even when implementing emerging technologies. It is tradition that informs the decision to make by hand, and to ensure as objects they extend beyond the primary function.

The urge to create will never cease. For designers the challenge has always been to transcend the here and now - to create objects with a timeless quality that refuse to be pigeon holed as fashion or fad.