Nowhere else in the world does collaboration quite like Oz. A quintessentially Australian form of design practice, Australians are leading the world in this trend to look outside of the box and search for creative alternatives both in practice and in business. The Woven Image Imagination Partners initiative is one of Australia’s most successful examples.
2 July, 2015
1. YOU LEARN, EXPERIMENT WITH AND IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICE
Nothing crystalizes what you bring to the table more than when you’re forced to articulate your competencies to a collaborative partner. The collaborative dynamic drives you to articulate and distill what you are great at, and what you do poorly. That honesty about your strengths and weaknesses can force you to ask for help when necessary and be brazen about how you can help others.
CASE STUDY // Metisʼ Underwater Grotto, designed by Imagination Partner Amber Ward, Kietsu, Sustainable Artist & Designer
AMBER WARD: Upon receiving the sample of EchoPanel® Mura, I was immediately inspired to create something fresh, fun and a little magical with an aquatic story. Corals came to life with the first samples of cutting with a blade. As I began researching underwater grottos, I discovered Greek Mythological references to nymphs, ʻgoddessesʼ of the natural elements.
Methods of working included hand cut stencilling techniques and free form cutting, including the creation of 3D pop-outs, experimenting with texture. I chose to hand cut the work so I could really experiment with the material and allow the work to evolve, sometimes that’s where the magic really happens.
2. COLLABORATIONS GIVE YOU A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR WORK
When working alone, we often resort to the tried-and-true approaches and never seem to stretch or further build our competencies. Working with someone else provides you many opportunities to learn. What approaches did they suggest? What ideas did they bring to the situation? How do they communicate with clients? These are only a few of the things you can observe and learn from—which will help you to add new methods to your own tool kit for future projects.
In this sense, collaboration can lead to innovative and fresh solutions to problems. By partnering with someone who has different experiences or a different style, you open yourself to new approaches and ideas to better serve the market.
CASE STUDY // MINDSTORM, designed by Imagination Partner bangdesign, Industrial Designers
BRYAN MARSHALL + DAVID GRANGER (bangdesign): We became fascinated by the concept of “network theory”. This interest sparked many thoughts around the way ideas form, and the constant interconnection and interplay of the way experiences, memory, creativity, conversation and problem-solving come together when we all design and innovate… it’s like a “mind-storm”.
The MINDSTORM sculpture is made up of a collection of shapes (like X and Y chromosomes, mixed with pieces of thought-lines); and this supposedly random collection of shapes connect with each other (in a way like synapses connect in the brain and ideas are formed).
The MINDSTORM installation represents these ideas and is intended to create an animated and inspiring space where individuals and groups can gather to let their “brainstorming hair down”. These aspirations seem like the perfect tribute to Woven Image’s Imagination Partner campaign, and the 25-year collaboration between bangdesign and Woven Image.
3. RAISING AWARENESS OF YOUR BRAND
Cross-promoting with another brand is probably one of the biggest reasons why it’s a good idea to engage in a collaboration. Say the brand you work with has 1,000 followers. They then promote and communicate that you two are working together. You now have 1,000 new people that will learn about your company. Think about it, if you keep 1% of those customers after the collaboration then you have 10 new customers that you didn’t have before. It’s just smart business.
CASE STUDY // Fold It! Acoustic Panels and Pendants, designed by Imagination Partner Gavin Harris, Interior and Industrial Designer
GAVIN HARRIS: Fold It! Is a Woven Image product using the echopanel acoustic material, and was designed to address the acoustic capabilities of a space in a very malleable way. The collaboration has been so successful that Woven Image and myself are now expanding the partnership to include a lighting version of the product with Satellite Design. The idea of Fold It! Is to really capatalise on all the elements that can contribute to an even distribution of sound. It caters for acoustics ceilings, walls, joinery and lights – it’s a very wide-reaching product.
4. ACCESS TO GREATER METHODS OF MAKING + PRODUCTION
As a designer, chances are you don’t own your own factory and manufacture capabilities. And often, designers find themselves at odds with makers who have little-to-no knowledge of the industry. Here, forging collaborations with design houses like Woven Image allows the designer to not only leverage the necessary equipment and technology, but to craft their designs with people who actually ‘get’ design.
CASE STUDY // Muralithic, designed by Imagination Partner Matt Sheargold, Interior and Industrial Designer
MATT SHEARGOLD: I challenged to artistically reinterpret the EchoPanel® Mura Tile, an innovative acoustic wall cladding that is design driven, cost effective and easy to install. I decided to release the tile’s creative side in a series of concepts designed to inspire designers to unleash their own creativity.
The collaboration aims to inspire designers to get creative either using the 2D Mura Tile online tool or the 3D CAD files available from Woven Image. Woven Image and its Echopanel® brand are well respected across the design, manufacture and distribution market throughout Australia and overseas. As an Australian company serving designers, architects and customers worldwide, Woven Image are committed to being at the forefront of innovative design. Since early 2011, their Imagination Partners series has been engaging designers to explore Woven Image products and stretch their possibilities to the limit. In fitting with this forward-thinking approach, ‘Muralithic’ showcases the endless possibilities EchoPanel® Mura Tiles offer to designers and encourages them to think outside the box.
5. COLLABORATIONS BRING CREDIBILITY
All of the benefits you gain, your collaborator gains, too. And don’t forget your clients: They’re getting higher-quality work in less time—and they’ll see you as the person who made that happen. In addition, the sterling reputation of your collaborator brings an added credibility to your own activity. It aligns their admired values with your own – only serving to strengthen and associate your brand with those some prized values.
CASE STUDY // Minnie Pwerle Collection, designed from paintings by Imagination Partner Minnie Pwerle, famed Australian Artist
WOVEN IMAGE ON MINNIE PWERLE: This contemporary interpretation of Minnie’s artwork will enrich interiors with an organic influence that flows from her connection to the land.
The collection represents a series of Minnie’s paintings with a design theme of free-flowing and parallel lines in a pendulous outline, depicting the body painting designs used in women’s ceremonies, or awelye.
Minnie Pwerle was born in the early 20th century near Alice Springs in central Australia. On her death in 2006, Minnie Pwerle left a substantial body of work, which depicted her deep connection to the land. Minnie’s style was spontaneous, and typified by bold and vibrant colour executed with great freedom.
Her paintings included depictions of stories or features for which she had responsibility within her clan, such as the Awelye Atnwengerrp Ceremony.
For more information on the Imagination Partners and their collections contact Woven Image
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