The Fortynine Studio

As a wrap up to our May focus of Copper, Claire takes a look at homegrown design studio The Fortynine Studio. Not only have they recently made their mark in Milan but they have also dabbled with our favourite precious metal in their collection of work known as ‘The Bushfire’.

Today, local Australian designers are becoming more recognised internationally for their creative thinking and innovative product design. One such design studio that has made their mark recently in Milan is The Fortynine Studio’s with their collection of work known as The Bushfire.

This Sydney based multidisciplinary collaborative design studio produce work from a range of different disciplines and materials for research, exhibition, retail and commission. Made up of five members; Lauren Austin, Ben Elbourne, Carly Vickers, Harriet Watts, and Sarah Spackman, the studio aim to develop original work with a considered and local approach.

The Fortynine Studio’s most recent work ‘The Bushfire’is a collection of furniture and homewares developed for exhibition with The Other Hemisphere at Ventura Lambrate, Milan, as part of the April’s Milan Design Week and will be exhibited at DesignEx in Sydney from 28-30 May.

The collection of work is an exploration and expression of understanding Australia’s unique regenerative aspects to bushfire. Drawing inspiration from the Australian landscape, each member of the studio has produced an object that is designed to function both individually and as part of the suite. The five designs relate to one another through materiality, finish and colour.

The works make use of local and reclaimed materials including native plant fibres, timber, copper and ceramic and have been developed using local manufacturers in combination with a number of hand finishing techniques. This collection of work is a great display of Australian design talent whilst also providing education about Australian nature and the effect that bushfires have on our country.

Here are the details and inspiration behind each of the five products…

‘Integument’ by Carly Vickers’ is a bowl that references the contrasting smooth interior and resilient exterior of seedpods that open up during fire.

‘Operculum’ by Sarah Spackman is a copper and natural fibre brush that takes its form from native flora. The user is able to replace the bristles after they wear out with locally available fibres or other material.

‘Macrocarpa’ by Ben Elbourne is a table that explores the stages of bushfire and regeneration. Materials have been carefully chosen and layered so that the table can survive and change through fire.

‘Tinderlight’ by Lauren Austin represents the ignition of fire, borrowing from seedpod forms.

‘Epicormic Clamp’ by Harriet Watts takes its lead from the new growth that appears on trees after fire. The clamp allows the user to create, and make additions to, structures with readily available materials in standard sizes.

‘The Bushfire’ is a collection of pieces that shout local design in every aspect. From the use of local materials and manufacturers, to the Sydney based designers, and even to each product’s form and function. More importantly each product is gorgeous. That little seedpod brush has definitely just been added to my birthday wish list…

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