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Common Wealth

Emerging Australian designers have been hand-picked to showcase their work at London Design Festival 2012. Ola Bednarczuk reports

Common Wealth


September 26th, 2012

When in Australia last year to judge The Edge and VIVID design awards, writer, curator and designer Suzanne Trocmé was impressed with the talent she encountered. Years of doing the rounds at trade fairs in Milan, Cologne and the like had left Trocmé yearning for a breath of fresh design air.

“I’ve been a design journalist for a good couple of decades and after a while you get a bit jaded,” she admits.

Tryst Stool Anson Smart

Tryst Stool  – Anson Smart

“What I look out for is what I call ’honest design’, which is design that doesn’t have any trickery or frippery.”

In Australia, in the likes of David Hardwick and (2012 Launch Pad finalist) Tate Anson, Trocmé found a host of “young emerging talents who are really considering the way they work.” Inspired by what she saw – and shocked by the reported statistic that only 20% of Australian design students remain in the profession – she set about selecting pieces that, to her, best represented the breadth of craftship in Australia’s young design scene.

Callum Campbell Holiday Table

Holiday Table – Callum Campbell

Trocmé’s curated collection, dubbed Common Wealth, was brought to London for the 2012 Design Festival with the help of the Victorian Government. Hosted by furniture design and retail brand Habitat at their Platform gallery space in Chelsea, the exhibition featured pieces including Andre Hnatejko’s Popper pendant lights, Tate Anson’s Tryst stool and Solaris timepiece and Adam Lynch’s utilitarian Thimble stools. Hnatejko, Anson, Lynch and designer Ashley Allen were also brought along to meet with visitors and share the stories behind the designs.

Ash Allen Sticks and Stones Stool

Sticks and Stones Stool – Ash Allen

“There’s obviously a bigger market here, and more scope for sales,” said Allen of the opportunity to show his Sticks and Stone stool and plywood desk to an international audience. “Most of us [at Common Wealth] are in a bit of a no-man’s land – we’ve got prototypes,” he explains, but full scale production is still a long way off. The extra publicity and networking opportunities offered by an international exhibition can be a crucial step forward.

Andre Hnatojko Popper Pendant

Poppers Pendant Light – Andre Hnatojko

“Most of these pieces are marketable, and the whole point of bringing [them] here was to expose this talent, to get Australia out there,” Trocmé says, citing Bernhardt Design’s Jerry Helling, Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic and London Design Festival director Ben Evans as just some of the “design gurus” the exhibition succeeded in attracting.

Young Australian Designers in Residence

Trocmé is hopeful that “some of these pieces will become products manufactured in other countries, give these designers the reputation they need so they can go on to do more things , to give their names a boost and to show Australia that they have a very active, healthy design industry.” She is already planning to curate a second similar exhibition in 2013.


HERO IMAGE: Ida Table by Tubert Yule Design


London Design Festival



images © Tubert Yule Design, London Design Festival, Andrea Fam and Shameer Subratty

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