Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Australian Design

Interesting points of Aussie Design:
- On the government website it lists architects, interior designers, landscape designers, graphic design, jewellers, industrial designers, fashion designers, furniture makers and textile artists as part of the "design industry"
- Limited materials and population make it difficult to market design in Australia.
- Aussie designers get their visual inspirations from the same wide variety of sources as Americans. But, "The analysis of everyday objects and activities is often central to the design process, as designers strive to produce simple and elegant solutions for ordinary situations"
- Australians are also incorporating digital technology in order to compete in the global market.

Some interesting tidbits:

"The multiplicity inherent in Australian professional craft practice defies a singular definition. Contemporary craft occupies a vast arena that extends from design for production work to commissions to one off works for exhibition and the collector market. It is this multi-layered nature of Australian contemporary craft that makes it so dynamic and vibrant and sustains the ongoing development of the Australian craft scene."

"The latter part of the 20th century was a period of remarkable growth in the Australian design world. In 1980, the appearance of Tony Fry's influential reference book Design History Australia reminded professionals of the need to consider design within a social and economic context of Australian history. There are a number of Australian designers currently achieving success and developing strong reputations within the fiercely competitive global context."

"An interest in the possible influences between art, science, and technology is a recurring theme in the work of many contemporary designers. Asking how the body relates to furniture, jewellery, clothes or space is one way of exploring new possibilities for design. Through the use of computer software, innovative manufacturing techniques and new materials, designers continue to challenge the ways in which design can affect many aspects of living in Australia and overseas."

Australians seem to use the term "design" much more broadly than we do in the US (one of the sites that turned up in my search was for vehicle safety standards). They also seem more supportive of design (I'm not sure exactly what I mean by that.) Design for them also seems to be more inclusive. I get the impression that they don't have the kind of petty bickering we do between fields and in the field of jewelry/metalsmithing.

Check out the Powerhouse Museum, which focuses on science and design. They have a Lace Study Centre, with a collection of over 300 examples of handmade lace from around the world. Some of their current exhibitions include an extensive collection of Princess Di memorabilia, silversmithing work from Paul de Lamerie, engineering excellence, and finalists for the Australia Design Awards

http://www.craftaus.com.au/ (Check out their "Living Treasures"section!)

Those placemats are made of Gumleaf.
Jewelry by Marian Hosking (white) and Robert Baines (red)

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