A tour de force in the design community, Jon Goulder and the team at WA’s Midland Atelier are showing just how strong, creative and collaborative Australian design can be.
November 17th, 2011
With a background in upholstery, furniture making, art, craft and design, Jon Goulder has carved a name for himself as one of Australia’s top furniture designers, recognised for his diverse range of pieces with their clean lines, smooth curves and strong craftsmanship.
Jon Goulder, Amore Mio chair and table. Image Michele Taylor
Jon Goulder, Oh La La chair. Image Bo Wong
Glissando credenza in situ. Image Bo Wong
As well as heading up his own design studio, Goulder is artist-in-residence at Midland Atelier, Western Australia’s creative hub and the largest purpose-built studio and workshop in the country. Indesignlive caught up with Goulder about what makes Midland Atelier special – and what he’s up to next.
What makes Midland Atelier uniquely Western Australian?
In the West we are not a part of any design scene. Anything we do we create ourselves, and this means our ideas have more of a chance of being fresh. I think this is uniquely Western Australian. I am not sure the Atelier is uniquely West Australian but I do think the Atelier is totally unique.
We have developed a working model that is unique in that we charge no rent for space in the facility and offer designers the opportunity to collaborate on projects and commissions. Designers are paid at a professional rate for their contribution to a project. When designers are not working on projects they are free to develop their work as a part of the Atelier collective.
We offer internships to designers who are at the top of their game and currently have an amazing amount of talent from all over the world. We also have a steady stream of world-class artists who come to work in our facility and take part in our programming through the Atelier’s international creative residency program. Over the past year we have had David Trubridge, ROA, Matt Harding, David Bielander and Helen Britton.
How has such an initiative been made possible and proved so successful in WA?
This initiative has been made possible because FORM and the Midland Redevelopment Authority have been able develop a strong working relationship with a vision to invigorate Western Australia’s creative economy and cultural fabric. The Atelier is successful because of FORM and it’s dedication to this sector.
Midland Atelier Machine Room. Image Michele Taylor
What are your plans for the Atelier for 2012? How do you wish to take it further and expand its reach?
The plans for the Atelier in 2012 are to build on our current momentum and to expand our capacity.
We have had another huge year working with a number of high profile architectural studios both nationally and internationally; we continue to define ourselves as a truly creative design studio that can deliver a range of different outcomes from public art, private residential commissions or large scale design collaborations with architectural firms.
We pride ourselves on only taking projects where we have 100% artistic licence; that way we define ourselves as a true design studio collective.
Belgian artist ROA’s 2011 platypus mural at Midland Atelier, on the wall of the original foundry of the Midland Railway Workshops. ROA’s Western Australian visit was co-presented by FORM and Skalitzers Contemporary Art. Image Bill Shaylor.
In 2012 we will welcome 3 new designers to the Atelier, one from The UK, one from Melbourne and a recent graduate from Perth.
Running alongside our busy commissions schedule we have some very exciting exhibitions to look forward to. David Trubridge will exhibit in the FORM Gallery with resident Atelier designers Adam Cruickshank and Nick Statham. This will see an 18 month long project come to fruition where David, Adam and Nick have been spending time with FORM in the Pilbara and at the Atelier developing a WA-inspired collection of art and design.
Furniture by Adam Cruickshank. Image Adrian Lambert
We will also see emerging artist and designer Alex Fosillo release his first body of work.
The Atelier will expand it’s reach by continuing to develop its unique working model and by developing innovative and creative work that gains international recognition.
Part of your role at Midland is to work as a mentor. What are the most important things you wish to pass on to the designers you mentor?
One of the most important roles I have is to teach work ethic and professionalism. I am interested in working with FORM and the Atelier crew, the in-house designers, artists and craftspeople and visiting artists to develop a sustainable working design studio collective.
Jon Goulder, Glissando credenza. Image Michele Taylor
You’re currently working on your second solo show and a product range for 2012. Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect?
My second solo exhibition will be an extension in my creative practice, which is constantly evolving. My practice and profile is grounded in industrial design coupled with craft practice which in the beginning saw production pieces like the Stak Stool, Leda Seat and Fruit Bowl. After moving to Perth and working with FORM my practice evolved into limited edition collectables, which have been highly successful and collected by the likes of the National Gallery of Australia.
Now my practice will evolve again and I am looking forward to working closely with FORM at the Atelier to develop the next collection that will tour internationally. My next solo exhibition is a little under wraps at the moment but I can say I am very excited by it and am looking forward to taking my next big creative step. A hint – it swings more toward fine art than functional design and defiantly is not product. Watch this space.
Jon Goulder, Orbit light
Jon Goulder Solo Exhibition. FORM Gallery
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