Danielle Brustman, Interior Designer
Best invention A Bodum coffee plunger – it’s a gorgeous invention and I use it every day because I like to have more than one cup of coffee. I also love Bicoca cordless lamps. I’m excited about lighting devices you can place anywhere and don’t see the cords. They provide more flexibility in creating a mood.
From the past I always return to the 1960s and 1970s for inspiration for my own designs. Three favourites are Vernor Panton’s Flowerpot VP Pendant, the groovy chair by Pierre Paulin, and Pierre Cardin furniture – still being produced today.
Hot right now I’m loving Melbourne’s vibrant design community and seeing it become experimental with materials and practices. Aesthetically, design is getting bold and I’m loving that. Jessie French is making exciting pieces out of algae and has done great research into how to use it in homewares and make it last. Mycelium Studios is also doing experimental work with mushrooms to make different moulds that can be used for building materials and objects.
The future Interiors are becoming more playful within the home. We want spaces that are multifunctional and we need them to offer us more than they have in the past.
Rule to live by Surround yourself with design and pieces that make you feel happy and inspired. Don’t be swayed by trends. What’s most important is your response is authentic and that these objects bring you joy.
Kerrie Brown, Interior Designer
Best invention Computers and humans working together allow for a massive amplification of creativity – think Photoshop and digital printing, 3D printing, smartphones. It’s opened up many possibilities and goes a long way towards democratising design.
From the past Mid-century designers like Ray and Charles Eames and Saarinen and Noguchi, whose pieces are so well designed they really haven’t been bettered.
Hot right now I’m loving biophilic design – a longing to live with nature in both our interior and exterior environments. This goes hand in hand with the importance of sustainable materials. I’m also loving re-imagined classics. I’ve always enjoyed messing around with historical and classical images from different time periods and cultures, mashing them up with one eye to the past and one eye to the future.
The future Digital technology is allowing humans to open up a world of possibilities we could never have imagined just a short time ago. I’m blown away by Michael Hansmeyer and the idea of freeing ourselves from preconceptions, bias, education and experience to see where that leads in design. His work looks more to forms designed by nature, which I think has to be a direction into the future. I also think that computers will free everyone to become their own designer to some extent, and designers will become exotic specialists working from small-scale businesses, designing one-off or bespoke, highly-crafted pieces.
Rule to live by My designing process is about mixing, layering and creating an emotional response to the wallpaper murals, textiles or art prints. I’m quite instinctual when it comes to design and colour. My approach to decorating is similar. I treat interiors like I would an artwork, making them interesting, beautiful, quirky and warm with a touch of humour.
Helen Kontouris, Industrial Furniture Designer
Best invention One of the simplest and most amazing design inventions is the paper cupcake holder. They’re inexpensive, can be baked at a high temperature, can hold wet liquid, and the end result is a perfectly formed cupcake. The bicycle is another great invention; the simplicity of the design and ability to get you where you need to go is a winner.
From the past Minimalism is in line with my style of design and the way I like to surround myself in the home.
Hot right now There is a significant trend coming through for authenticity in design. I think producing products that are ecologically guilt-free is a trend that is starting to strengthen. Sustainability is built into the product and you wouldn’t even know it. Locally produced products are going to stay, given what’s occurring around the world. People want to know the lineage around how products are made. Buy less and buy well.
The future Limited edition pieces. When you think of fast design, there is no emotional resonance that is attached to those objects, whereas when you look at something that is a limited edition or potentially a one-off, then you have emotional quality and attachment to that object. It’s what people want right now.
Rule to live by Curiosity, purely because people, and the way they interact with objects, fascinate me. I ask too many questions and want to know about those around me and it affects and informs my work.
Koos de Keijzer, Founder and Principal of DKO Architecture
Best invention The best design inventions are ones that make me happy; spaces that touch all the senses. I particularly like Lapidus’s use of a curve – so voluptuous and sensual. Lapidus was a modernist who loved neo-baroque and natural forms.
From the past Being Dutch, I’ve been saturated with modernism; the forward-looking, all-solving nature of modernism attracts me. Architects like Alvar Aalto, who linked modernism with nature, are especially interesting. I love the mid-century LA modernists, such as Craig Ellwood and Schindler, as they combine craft and drama.
Hot right now I’m loving the lean towards nature – there’s so much we can learn from it. I recently designed a 42-level tower on the Gold Coast, based on a pandanus palm.
The future Embracing the environment, understanding heating and cooling, and coming to terms with liveability. I recently renovated my farmhouse in the Cobaw Ranges and it taught me so much about nature.
Rule to live by Any design needs to be about love, love, love. Do what gives you joy. I love modern furniture and every time I look at my furniture, it makes me happy. Be aware of what is happening globally. There are so many websites that are full of beautiful objects. Keep an open mind and examine nature carefully. But most importantly, keep it simple and sexy.
Alec Tzannes, Architect and director of tzannes
Best invention The safety elevator by Mr Otis in 1853 is an incredible design. Digital technology also allows the design process to be more precise and wider in its integration of scientific thinking, which is important for carbon-regenerative designs.
From the past I love that you built a home well and it lasted forever. It was about making the detailing last, seeing that it sheds water properly, that materials are chosen and detailed appropriately. Bricks used as bricks. I’d like to see this trend come back.
Hot right now The biggest trend shaping our current thinking is the acknowledgement of Country and the integration of Indigenous peoples’ thinking about the environment and how it connects us to the past. We see this through using land efficiently and using resources respectfully. And thinking about animals and their habitats makes us more sensitive to how we design our homes and gardens.
Gone are the days of thinking about a house and its setting as being the construct of a value system deeply set in the idea that we are superior to nature. We should approach the building of homes from the point of view that we are not just the stewards of the land, but also of the habitat of all the other living beings who use that land. This changes the way we design.
The future We are at a turning point. Design is a reflection of where we have been and where we should be going – it’s a litmus test. Our short-termism created buildings with a 20- to 30-year life. We design for a sustainable future.
Rule to live by To leave the place better than you found it. It can be expressed in different ways. One is to be scientific. We can’t design from a personal view of what is beautiful. We have to integrate a scientific review of materials and construction to lower our carbon footprint and create regenerative carbon. A second way is to build things beautifully but practically.
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