You saw it here first: Adam Goodrum’s colourful Scandi-Australian aesthetic has seen his designs take off around the world, and his latest work for Louis Vuitton is out of this world.
September 6th, 2021
Adam Goodrum is possibly the most likeable person in furniture and product design. Easy going, relaxed, smart and extraordinarily talented. It seems that there really isn’t anything he can’t achieve, with projects commissioned and delivered by Cult Design, Tait, Cappellini, Alessi and Blå Station. Not bad for a boy from the beaches of Perth who thought he might make art a career.
What changed this course was strangely enough, a passion for maths. He also had a family that championed design with tastes that ran from Shaker furniture to those working for Marimekko in the sixties and seventies. Goodrum’s father was a science academic and Adam spent some of his formative years in America. Combining these influences, design seemed to be the right fit and he moved to Sydney to complete an Industrial Design Degree at UTS.
Over the past twenty years what has evolved is an extraordinary sense of scale, proportion, comfort and most resoundingly, style. His designs resonate with an Australian aesthetic that touches on Scandinavian, then reinvents the idea as relevant to our life style. As such, couches are long enough to lie on, high enough to flop into and robust enough to suffer a bit of sand.
Maths most assuredly is present with work such as the piece commissioned by Febrik and Kvadrat and exhibited in the Knit Project for 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen. This multi coloured dream boat of a design was snapped up for production as Big Talk 007 by Blå Station.
Hallmarking Goodrum’s work further is an explicitly handmade quality with artisans brought into the process from the early stages. The result is hand treated leathers, perfectly imperfect hand stitching, finely turned and eye-selected timbers and most recently, straw marquetry. Typical to Goodrum’s want, the inclusion of straw marquetry has been an organic and joyful development.
As Goodrum explains, Arthur Seigneur was working from a studio near his in Redfern and sent an email introduction: “I said ‘hey, why don’t you come for a coffee?’ and he brought some samples of his beautiful straw marquetry work. It was just spectacular,” says Goodrum.
Soon after, the Series 7 Charity project at Cult gave Goodrum the opportunity to work with Seigneur. “He’s traditional but openminded to doing different things. The sum is greater than the two parts as we both bring different things,” says Goodrum of Seigneur, who is identified as one of the artisans pushing straw marquetry into the spotlight beyond what has been its established role in decoration.
A student of Lison de Caunes, Seigneur, like de Caunes, pushes the straw to remarkable outcomes including curves and an unprecedented three dimensionality. “We are the vigilantes, the Punk of the Straw Marquetry world, we are doing things with straw marquetry that shouldn’t be done,” says Seigneur.
Series 7 was quickly followed by a piece called ‘Bloom’ that was presented in Milan (Local Design, Emma Elizabeth), then at Friends and Associates (Dale Hardiman) in Melbourne. ‘Bloom’ was picked up by the National Gallery of Victoria, but more importantly, Tolano Gallery offered representation and A&A (Adam and Arthur) was born. The ensuing exhibition, ‘Exquisite Corpse’, comprising three pieces, was again quickly taken up by significant collections including Judith Neilson’s (White Rabbit).
More recently still, an extraordinary cabinet, Klaatu, has been acquired by Nick Mitzevich for the National Gallery of Australia collection. “This lovely evolution of success has been really amazing for us,” says Goodrum.
The latest project for A&A ‘Cocotte en Paille’ (Chatterbox in Straw) is a significant piece for Louis Vuitton and was commissioned as one of 200 invited global visionaries to celebrate 200 years of Louis Vuitton. Each of the 200 has been asked to create a piece celebrating the traditional LV trunk.
Video animation by Ex Jupiter Studios
Designed to include elements of surprise the truck opens from several different sides with secret drawers and a great variety of colour. “Because the straw is so dazzling you get these shifts in perception and depth when it moves so we wanted to activate that” says Goodrum.
Goodrum’s practice is now a harmonious blend of furniture and product design with the work with Seigneur offering a unique avenue for enquiry: “It is really nice in this point of my career to have this as a substantial part of my studio practice, it’s just really enjoyable” says Goodrum.
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