Recently, indesignlive took the time to visit one of Sydney’s quirkier designers at his Redfern studio.
November 1st, 2008
Sam Whiteman jumps confidently, in one leap, onto his dark-brown paper-mâché table, despite our trepidation that the material couldn’t possibly be strong enough.
The table – part of Whiteman’s ‘lowlife’ range – with its textured surface and long span, sits powerfully beneath the far windows of his third floor studio and belies its construction.
When asked how he could possibly make paper-mâché so strong he replies – like any good designer should – “If I told you, I would have to kill you.”
Born and bred in Sydney, but trained at RMIT in Melbourne, Whiteman works with stainless steel, leather, animal skin, paper-mâché, resin, glass and countless other materials – a leather man’s harness chandelier hangs in his window downstairs.
He has a fondness for lowering all his furniture pieces, “a bit like a Tarana”, giving his designs a relaxed, natural feel. All his pieces are custom-made and have an unpretentious, tactile nature.
Two works-in-progress when we visit are a flat-pack beach-chair-style seat and dark wood cabinet (both, naturally, lowered), while about 10 or so larger pieces from his ‘lowlife’ and ‘natureboy’ collections take up the remainder of the beautifully unrestored studio space.
While some of Whiteman’s designs, like the animal skin throws, might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they take obvious inspiration from the natural world while alluding to the grittiness of the city beyond his Redfern studio.
Whiteman’s products can be viewed online or Cnr Darley St and Clarksons Hill Way, Darlinghurst. You might also be able to catch a look at Sam himself! (Unfortunately no portrait photo was available at time of writing)
Whiteman’s Advertising and Design Agency also did a great job of catching our attention with his A2 sized promotional magazine, worth picking one up if you’re in the area, if not for the awesome pictures at least for the novelty.
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