Paul McGillick reports on Perth’s coming of age.
February 18th, 2010
Jon Goulder’s exhibition 11.12 at FORM in Perth shows why the new Midland Atelier will change the face of design in Australia.
In Perth, FORM has celebrated the coming-of-age of its Midland Atelier project with a splendid exhibition at its Murray Street space by Jon Goulder.
It’s five years now since Goulder crossed the continent to work with FORM on its Designing Futures programme and help shape the Atelier – an adaptive re-use of the Midland railway workshops to provide studio facilities for a whole range of designers (furniture, lighting, jewellery, sculpture and public art), along with administration and function amenities, cafes and exhibition spaces.
This exhibition is the culmination of Goulder’s work as the very first designer-in-residence and it consists of fifteen pieces, including iconic pieces such as the Leda Seat, Calypso Lounge and Stak Stool, as well as eleven new pieces made over the last twelves months – hence the title of the show: 11.12.
There was a massive turn-out for the launch, with the exhibition opened by the Western Australian Treasurer, Troy Buswell, who delighted many with his concluding comment that it was time Western Australia (and Australia as a whole) went beyond the quarry and started to cultivate its creative talent.
All the new work in Goulder’s show was developed at the Midland Atelier which surely has to be the most visionary project of its kind in Australia. Space and facilities are what creative people need most.
Add to that the concentration of creatives in the physically exciting location which the Atelier provides, and one has a mix of enormous potential.
Goulder’s rigorously resolved and stunningly detailed furniture pieces are a glowing endorsement of what this amenity can engender. At the same time, with the range of work in this exhibition, Goulder has set out to demonstrate a model of how a studio-based designer can be financially viable and still invest in highly crafted furniture.
He sees it as a ’threefold path’ – namely, design for royalty-based agreements with manufacturers, limited batch in-house production and one-off experiments or custom pieces (such as the extraordinary two-piece reception desk carved from solid Australian Oak which he built in collaboration with Malcolm Harris for Wesfarmers’ Perth headquarters).
A triumph for Goulder and a triumph for FORM, the Midland Atelier signals a major step forward in the evolution of an Australian design culture.
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