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Why we love Helen Kontouris: 5 designs for all time

Leanne Amodeo rounds up the Indesign team’s favourite Helen Kontouris designs.

Why we love Helen Kontouris: 5 designs for all time

Helen Kontouris (left) with Georgia Danos of James Richardson Furniture (right).

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to contemporary Australian design and our designers are hands-down some of the most exciting in the world. Helen Kontouris ranks amongst the best, producing work comprising lighting, furniture and product that’s consistently timeless, fresh and sophisticated.

It’s difficult not to be obsessed with her striking use of colour and the nimble way her designs straddle the line between sensual and sensible. Choosing just five of her designs is a difficult task. But her recent release of Aplós with James Richardson Furniture (JRF) has given us a great place to start.

1 Aplós by Kontouris for JRF

Kontouris founded the Aplós collection with Simon Cross in 2019 and it has recently become the newest addition to the JRF family. Its two agile seating systems and tables (including The Village, The Village Plump and Ripple Table collections), are elegantly stylish, showcasing the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Kontouris is known.

However, their beauty goes beyond form and palette, providing dignity, comfort and a little bit of relaxed luxury to the aged care and health sectors, as well as residential and retail environments. Aplós is the Greek reference for simplicity, or as Kontouris explains it, ‘beauty in simplicity’.   

2 Bauhaus for the National Gallery of Victoria, Great Hall

Arguably one of Kontouris’ most prominent seating systems, this design was specially commissioned for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Great Hall. A visual treat, the brightly coloured seats echo the character of the space’s stained-glass ceiling, peppering the burgundy coloured carpet as jewel-like formations. Bauhaus was created under the helm of LEN, a brand Kontouris established in 2012, alongside Simon Cross, to showcase her exclusive partnership with Stylecraft.

3 La La Lamp by Kontouris for Kundalini

Photography courtesy of Helen Kontouris.

This iconic floor lamp, comprised of two opaline coated fabric shades, makes a statement in whatever setting it sits. Kontouris first exhibited the design at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2004 and it understandably attracted a huge amount of press coverage, with Italian lighting manufacturer Kundalini contacting the designer to put it into production. The La La Lamp was launched the following year at Euroluce and Kontouris’ star was well and truly on the rise, cementing her as a name to watch; a mere four years after she established her eponymous design studio.   

4 Softscape by LEN

Photography courtesy of Helen Kontouris.

Softscape, also for LEN and available from Stylecraft, is a highly covetable chaise that most probably sits at the top of many a wish list. Its clean lines and curved edges imbue it with a timelessness that’s matched by its pretty pastel upholstery and unexpectedly bold powder coated mild steel frame. In this design, Kontouris perfectly displays her understanding of interior spatiality, as well as a love for melding comfort, style and high functionality.  

5 Fjord by LEN

This powdercoated aluminium table is a clever and lightweight visual delight that is also extremely practical. Kontouris was inspired by the narrow cliffs along the Norwegian coastline and Fjord is designed to sit between lounge chairs or by itself, offering a stylish interpretation of a traditional side table. Its eye-catching tulip-like form adds an element of playfulness that could put a smile on anyone’s face.

Helen Kontouris

We think you might like this article about 12 Shortlisted designs for The Object at INDE.Awards 2022.

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