Recently travelling to Melbourne to attend the Australian Institute of Architects National Conference, ‘Collective Agency,’ Practice Director Carolyn Mitchell took the opportunity to drop in on DENFAIR, an industry-specific curated design fair held concurrently in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This annual event brings together the best of the design industry, in 2019 under the theme of LIFE WORK. The fair targets architects, interior designers and industrial designers, as well as opening to the public on the final day.
More than 140 exhibitors created unique environments from lighting to furniture, fabrics to rugs, and ceramics to door hardware.
Three themes emerging throughout the fair strongly resonated with Carolyn’s design approach. She writes:
Ceramic handcrafted lighting.
“Increasingly our work lives and home lives are blurring, and the design industry has responded with flexible and adaptable furniture and fittings which can change over time. I was delighted to see a return to fine crafting in so many elements, with beautiful detailing and high quality of materials, where furniture, fixtures and fittings are built to last and endure.”
“I immediately noticed a strong materiality theme throughout the fair of natural timber. The return to more natural finishes used in innovative ways was refreshing. Beautifully formed timber elements created simple and elegant items of furniture for indoors and out, work settings and home, as well as myriad components of lights, hardware, accessories and screening, mostly in a clear oiled or waxed finish. This was a highlight for me, reflecting my personal love of honest and strong materials and finishes balanced with softness and warmth.”
Recycled plastic stool.
“Many of the finely crafted pieces were made using manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, laser cutting and robotics. The accuracy of these efficient processes minimises waste and streamlines production. The use of sustainable, renewable materials and whole-of-life considerations to products was also a focus, and the integration of low energy fittings and fixtures was standard.
“Understanding well-being in the home and office was a key topic of the aligned speaker series, and a passion of mine. Advocating better quality of space, air and light through material selection, clever design and incorporation of planting aligns with my design values.”