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Video: Australia’s return to local, sustainable manufacturing

Lagging procurement times and difficulty sourcing materials from overseas has driven a return to local manufacturing. Our colleagues at Habitus looked into this return to local and sustainable practices.

Laura Box


December 1st, 2021

Lagging procurement times and difficulty sourcing materials from overseas has driven a return to local manufacturing.

“Supply chains are not able to deliver in the same way that they did pre-covid,” says design editor and consultant David Clark. 

“Now we’re in a situation where something that you order from Italy, or from America, or from Scandinavia, needs to be put on a ship, gets held up in ports. It might take six months to survive,” says Clark. “And that in itself is becoming more and more unsustainable and it’s also wearing out people’s patience.”

“The advantage of that is that we can rediscover local makers, local manufacturing and local design,” he adds.

David Clark

As part of the Habitus House of the Year, our colleagues over at Habitus looked into the surge in local manufacturing and how important it is to collaborate with local trades and craftspeople.

In the video, we hear from David Clark, architects Michael Cumming, Virginia Kerridge, Matt Krusin, Michael Cumming and Alexander Symes, alongside Carmelle Russell, co-founder of Natch Essentials, and Tony Russell, the brand director of Stylecraft. 

The esteemed selection of contributors discuss how local manufacturing has led to incredible design outcomes, and the video asks whether this is what the future of Australian manufacturing, architecture and design will continue to look like as the world reopens.

Alexander Symes

“We need to think about how we can value add our resources in Australia to create a local architectural style and material procurement strategy,” says Alexander Symes, who won Habitus House of the Year 2020 with Upside Down Akubra House.

“It’s illogical how much stuff we bring from overseas. We need to think global but act local,” added Symes.

As a result of the demand driven by the pandemic, a resurgence of local skill, craftsmanship and making has taken centre stage and given more awareness to sustainable practices.

“What we discovered with many of the products in Habitus House of the Year, is how many architects worked with local materials,” says Habitus editor Aleesha Callahan.

“For example, on B House, a project in Vietnam by 365 Design, there’s a screening facade made from bamboo, a simple, readily available material.”

A maker using a blow torch with the words Local Manufacturing embedded on top of the image.

Catch more from the Habitus House of the Year video series here.

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