Australia’s Broached Commissions

JournalDesign

Australia’s Broached Commissions

Elegant designs tell stories from Australia’s history...

For a long time it seems ‘The Colonies’ have been hidden in the shade of British Imperialism. But as attention turns to the new world, countries like Australia and New Zealand are using design to tell the stories of the past and to carve out a richer international identity.

Australia’s Broached Commissions
Australia’s Broached Commissions

Adam Goodrum ‘Birsdmouth Table’: inspired by the ‘Birdsmouth Mast’ used on ships from the mid-nineteenth century. The unique construction gave it significantly more strength. The legs are constructed in the same way, with the motif carrying through to the brass handles on the drawers lined with kangaroo skin.

Launched late last year, The Broached Commissions are limited edition collections of bespoke designs telling stories from Australia’s history. Founded by Lou Weis and Vincent Aiello, the program has 3 permanent design members – Trent Jansen, Adam Goodrum and Charles Wilson – joined for each edition by a curator and guest designers. The first commission, ‘Broached Colonial’, looks at the early years of European occupation.

Australia’s Broached Commissions
Australia’s Broached Commissions

Charles Wilson ‘Tall Boy’: taking its cue from Wilson’s rural upbringing, Tall Boy references “makeshift craft traditions of bush furniture and agricultural structures such as windmills and water tanks.

“Overwhelmingly Australia is an importer and synthesiser of design aesthetics not a creator and exporter of them,” explains, Creative Director, Lou Weis. “Therefore what is important to consider is not what is an identifiable Australian aesthetic but how does Australia change what arrives here? How does design take on a parallel evolution to its evolution elsewhere once it arrives and gets stuck on that massive island.”

Australia’s Broached Commissions
Australia’s Broached Commissions

Lucy McRae ‘Prickly Lamp’: draws on notions of survival in the harsh conditions in which colonial women often found themselves in Australia. The “protective skin” is made of painstakingly died wooden spikes.

The collection features 6 designs informed by individuals, materials and other influences from the colonial period; from Trent Jansen’s Briggs Family Tea Service, which uses porcelain, bull kelp, wallaby pelt, copper and brass, to the simple forms of Max Lamb’s Hawkesbury Sandstone Collection.

Australia’s Broached Commissions

Trent Jansen ‘Briggs Family Tea Service’: represents the marriage of George Briggs, a free settler to Tasmania, to Woretermoeteyenner of the Pairrebeenne people, and the four children they had together. The materials used bring together two distinct cultures with porcelain – British tea-drinking – and bull kelp – used by aboriginals for carrying water.

All the designs can now be purchased, and Broached Commissions is also accepting private commissions for installations and spaces. The collection should be touring the world in 2012, including a visit to London, while the second edition (under wraps for now) is planned for late in the year.

Australia’s Broached Commissions

Max Lamb ‘Hawkesbury Sandstone Collection’: taking the iconic sandstone of the Sydney Bay area and his colonial research, English designer Max Lamb travelled to Australia to create his Hawkesbury Sandstone Collection, featuring stools, steps a table and a bench seat.

Australia’s Broached Commissions
Australia’s Broached Commissions

Chen Lu ‘Dream Lantern’: “modeled on curiosity objects of the late eighteenth to mid nineteenth centuries” this lantern comes with 4 different ‘shades’ inspired by the life of convict escapee Mary Bryant.

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