Lighting: I'm very passionate about it. Apart from needing it to see properly in dim spaces, it radically improves any space. I spent years working in Spain when floro tubing was so widely accepted since it served the "illuminate" requirement. How uninspired I felt. Sufficient is not what makes a great light. There needs to be levels of ambience combined with art. To define space with light. After a visit to Denfair I was reminded how much design talent can be found in Melbourne, and Australia wide.
I generally breeze through a Melbourne furniture trade fair in roughly an hour. Since coming to Australia, the respect for the industrial design industry has evolved. In 2009 the trade fairs were mostly marketing tools for companies who took other designer's ideas and mass produced them. Since the arrival of Denfair, local design has been put on a pedestal for all to see and appreciate. I arrived at 10:30 am on Friday and did not leave until well after 5 pm. It was a day filled with lovely people, passionate creatives and outstanding design.
Porcelain Bear is a design partnership based Collingwood who have yet another great collection this year. They use porcelain for lighting and the shapes seem industrial inspired - with a twist: sleek, elegant and ultimately make me want to find a project for them asap. They also design and produce ceramic tiles. This year there were floral images on wall tiles as well as textured geometric tiles with curved tiles for corner detailing. So very sexy.
Alex Earl, whom I discovered for the first time last year exhibited a wall sconce. A play of textures and light. Last year they had a wooden speaker in the entrance hall which sounded great and looked beyond cool. This year the jewellery-shop style booth was focused on lighting. By focus I mean there was only one light. Well, there were light scones on the ceiling but all the focus was on just the jewel of a light. Full height drapery hung from all sides hiding the booth so everyone was curious about what was inside.
Callum Campbell's timeless pendant light with brass and frosted globes reminded me of a game I used to play as a child, rolling a ball back and forth across a set of steel rods. No idea what it was called but I much prefer this version. There is an classical balance at play between the brass, the frosted globes and the void spaces. They are two lights hung together but I believe they should be one fixture instead of two.
While not a local designer Michael Anastassiades' work with Euroluce is worth noting. I love the simplicity and the references to art deco but very much contemporary lights which are destined to be classics. There is a playfulness with the design, almost as if someone had just walked by and balanced the globe on the brass and chrome rod bases.