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Meet Rhys Cooper, champion of local craftsmanship

Aleesha Callahan talks with Rhys Cooper, an emerging Australian furniture designer, about all things design, materials and manufacturing.

With the launch of Jam – JamFactory’s new all-Australian line up of locally designed and manufactured products, furniture and lighting – Aleesha Callahan chats with Rhys Cooper, whose Cusp Collection features in the Jam range, about his approach to design, materials and manufacturing. 

Aleesha Callahan: What manufacturing and joinery techniques does the Cusp Collection use?

Rhys Cooper: The Cusp collection is made using contemporary joinery techniques such as solid mortise and tenon joinery along with bent plywood for the backrest and seat.

What was your approach and concept for designing the Cusp range?

I designed the Cusp range early in my career, the initial concept was simply to design a contemporary tub chair. The early stages of development involved a lot of model making and prototyping, with feedback provided by my peers. I then made the initial prototype and after some minor changes JamFactory agreed to produce the collection.

 

“Without Australian manufacturing, we will continue to lose valuable trades and craftspeople, and before we know it the industry will be lost.”

 

How do you consider materials in your design process?

Material selection comes pretty early on in the design process and helps inform the direction, I find that if I don’t decide on the material and production process I tend to jump between ideas too much. I work with a variety of materials, predominantly timber, but really enjoy working with ceramics, glass and textiles.

Why is Australian manufacturing important?

Without Australian manufacturing, we will continue to lose valuable trades and craftspeople, and before we know it the industry will be lost. People should support local manufacturing where they can.

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