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Nicky Lobo caught up with the Australian designer at this year’s Salone in Milan and finds that while he may be making a mark on the international design landscape, his passion and dedication lie a little closer to home.
Firstly, can you tell me how your new Foliar wall treatment for Wovin Wall came about?
This project was actually a truly organic process. After some initial sketches and drawings, we produced and tested samples continuously. In fact, I rarely touched my computer for most of this initial stage, instead, I was hand cutting a lot of materials and working hands-on. Only then did I return to my computer to finalise the project. It was a very wholesome and grass-roots process.
Foliar wall treatment
Have you designed anything like this before?
No, not really. I quite simply took the ‘wall surface’ brief and ran with an idea. I was inspired by nature, by plants and their differing shapes – whether they are opening, closing or growing. I then combined this idea with the belief that you don’t have to have a wall that is just simply flat. The idea is that one day you can have a wall that is closed, the next day it can be open, the next semi-open, and so on. It is extremely playful and allows the shapes of the natural foliage to create interest.
Foliar wall treatment
So is this more of a decorative wall rather than an acoustic wall?
Well yes, it is very visual. And I intend it be used for both residential and commercial projects. It is almost an inter-changeable artwork. It is also a snap-fit structure, and is easy to disassemble. It can also be shipped anywhere around the world. It was a beautiful project to create. I wanted to create a project that could spread organically, almost like algae. In fact, the lily flower that was growing in my backyard inspired me during the stages of my design.
What was the biggest challenge for you in designing this?
Detail. Making sure it works every time, in every space. And making sure the mechanisms work of course.
What do you think of Milan?
It is the dream to come over here and work for these large international companies. But recently, a lot of young Australian designers are looking to work closer to home, with companies in Australia. The need to travel for design is not essential these days. And with international distribution, this is now possible. So it is just great to come over here and work with an Australian company.
And just quickly, a game of word association:
Bad Design: Ruin
Finally, what’s the best pick of Milan this year?
Magis. I love this company and the way they approach design.