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Design Island

Furniture maker, designer and teacher, Simon Ancher, talks about design on Australia’s island state.

Design Island


August 31st, 2009

Having travelled the world exploring Europe, the United Kingdom, America and Japan, Simon Ancher still thinks Tasmania is the place to be.

“It has a great quality of life – it’s not the country town many assume it to be,” he says. In fact, far from it; if anything Tasmania is a hub for emerging furniture makers and designers.

As the Head of School for the University of Tasmania’s Furniture Design School (some of you may remember it as the Australian School of Fine Furniture), Ancher is at the forefront of this hub.

While he may be leading the pack now, it wasn’t something he always envisaged. “I never entertained the idea of teaching,” he says, but a fortuitous opportunity found him in Launceston lecturing and directing with the Furniture Design School.

“Teaching forced me to learn how to use new skills,” says Ancher. “It has also helped me in understanding what I’ve wanted to do in terms of my own design practice.”

Ancher says the School’s program provides students with hands-on and theoretical knowledge across a variety of disciplines – depending on their interests and specialities.

He says the degrees on offer are unique within Australia because of their links to both architecture and interiors. “You become quite knowledgeable in a number of areas, going on to design more efficient viable products,” says Ancher.

Also, a healthy balance of construction and design knowledge is critical, “so graduates have a number of options, whether working for themselves or others.”

Himself a practicing designer and maker, Ancher regularly produces new work. His ‘Milk Crate Stool’, designed in collaboration with the School’s workshop manager, was created in response to a brief he set his own students.

Ideal for cafes and kids alike, the ‘Milk Crate Stool’ has also been translated into a coffee table.

Other pieces include Ancher’s sturdy ‘Clipped Wing’ range which, against all odds, supports the weight of a grown man (tried and tested!).

For the inside word on Ancher’s practice, pick up DQ35 – on sale 30 September.

Australian School of Fine Furniture
(61 3) 6331 0288

Simon Ancher: Ancher Design
(61 3) 6334 2645


























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