Keith Melbourne’s new ‘Glass’ collection is an homage to iconic glassware. Mandi Keighran talks to him about the design process and the advantages of local manufacture.
September 1st, 2011
It was while sitting in his favourite café, drinking coffee that Melbourne designer, Keith Melbourne came up with the idea for his recently launched ’Glass’ collection.
“Unusually for me, the idea for the ’Latte’ stool happened in the light bulb way,” says Melbourne. “I looked at the latte glass, recognised what a beautiful form it is and thought about it as a stool.”
Following his ’light bulb’ moment, Melbourne engaged in a long process of understanding the form of the iconic latte glass.
“I was dealing with aspects of materiality, scale, stability and manufacturability, while trying to maintain the beauty and subtlety of the original form.”
During this process, Melbourne developed a new love of glassware, and the ’Latte’ stool quickly grew into a collection of stools all based on iconic glass forms.
“Such a wide range of people really loved the products,” says Melbourne. And, it’s no surprise they proved so popular. The fun and eclectic mix of oversized glassware is available in 49 different colours. For the launch, Melbourne had some made in black and was “surprised by just how beautiful and mysterious they became”.
The ’Glass’ collection is manufactured in Australia.
“There is some great manufacturing capability in Australia,” says Melbourne. “In Australia, we don’t have a strong culture of collaboration between manufacturing and design. I see my job as being the conduit between manufacturing and market… adding the missing design element to the mix.”
Melbourne worked with Palamont on the manufacturing of the ’Glass’ collection. Together, they developed advanced tooling that gives the range an uncommon level of detail and finish.
And, along with supporting local industry, local manufacture has a number of benefits. Choice and shorter lead times are two of the major advantages. The six core colours are available with just 2 weeks lead time, and there are another 43 colours available with just 4 weeks lead time.
Adding to the ’Glass’ collection’s versatility, there is the option of seat pads on all the stools, and a full cover on the ’Cognac’ stool.
The ’Glass’ collection is available now from Zenith.
“Zenith are a strong supporter of Australian design and manufacture,” says Melbourne. “I’m very pleased to have them represent the collection across Australia and New Zealand.”
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