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Local Design: Keeping it Local

What does Australian design look like? An exhibition of local talent at Salone del Mobile this year hoped to reveal just that.

  • An arm chair from Tom Fereday's WES collection.

  • Andrew Simpson with his O Six Hundred kayak.

  • The exhibition in Milan.

  • Emma Elizabeth with her designs for Designer Rugs

  • DAAST's aluminum numerals.

Amongst Milan’s almost infinite displays, exhibitions, product presentations, and halls dedicated to Scandinavian innovation or Italian traditional craftsmanship, how does Australian design stand out? Presented by Local Design, Local Milan was a showcase of 12 leading Australian designers at Salone del Mobile this year. Curated by Local Design founder and stylist Emma Elizabeth, along with industrial designer Tom Fereday, the exhibition hoped to establish a platform to define Australian style, and what might be considered to be distinctly Australian design.

Hosted within the Teatro Arsenale theatre within the new 5 Vie art and design precinct, the presentation featured work from Fereday and Elizabeth, as well as local design talent Shilo Engelbrecht, DAAST, Toby Jones, Mr. Frag, Kate Banazi, Andrew Simpson and Alex Fitzpatrick. Other designers included Kate Banazi, Coco Reynolds, Rachel Vosila and Tom Skeehan. Designer’s work was set against a display of 5,000 black bricks, dramatically lit from above.

Fereday and Elizabth selected designers and their products based upon merit, and the role each is currently playing in shaping the Australian design landscape, and its overall image abroad.

“Local Design elegantly showcased 12 designers in what has been to date the largest independent showcase of Australian design in Milan,” said one half of the duo behind DAAST design studio, Andrew Southwood-Jones. “We feel very strongly that the way Emma and Tom from Local Design styled, organised and largely funded the event, has projected a new and positive way of thinking about Australian design to the international market.  The result of this exhibition has not only had a positive impact onto the 12 designers involved but it should also have a positive impact onto all Australian designers as a whole on the international stage.”


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