Sydney Indesign’s dynamic Galleria hub offered lofty heritage-listed industrial architecture at the Locomotive Workshops at Eveleigh’s Australian Technology Park in Sydney’s inner-west. Sophie Davies reports.
Global design fairs usually occupy dull exhibition halls, where besuited attendees drag pull-along bags down rows of same-same stands. By contrast, in its third year, Indesign’s dynamic Galleria hub offers lofty heritage-listed industrial architecture at the Locomotive Workshops at Eveleigh’s Australian Technology Park in Sydney’s inner-west. The informal staggered layout of 70-plus design brands was dotted with Allpress coffee caravans and Young Henrys craft beer shacks.
Interactive experiences upped the fun. Karndean Designflooring with Latitude Group created a perfume counter-style scent-test game inspired by their vinyl flooring. Tappeti turned its custom rug stand into a giant weaving loom. Designer Pinboards with Fulton Trotter Architects designed a huge pinboard where you could unpin tags to reveal nine bold new colours. Lamicolor Pfleiderer with HDR Rice Daubney Architects’ pixilated tunnel was decorated with vibrant laminates, encouraging shared photos. Signature Floorconcepts with Siren Design Group entertained with a soft-play box of squashy white balls and foam forms, representing its new Shapes carpet-tile range. Working with SJB, The Textile Company invited folk into a colourful fabric cocoon, Obodo celebrated its circular chair forms, and Stormtech produced a plethora of water pipes. Meta with Pocketspace Interiors explored intimate furniture nooks. Maximum with Thomas Coward Studio displayed an outsize sculpture in marble, travertine and porcelain.
Vibrant colour was also an attention-grabbing stall stand-out, reflecting fashion’s colour blocking trend. At Work* with Camira’s new Landscape commercial upholstery fabrics came in dreamy blue-accented plaids. ECC introduced Swiss brand USM’s bright modular storage. KE-ZU presented Sancal sofas in inspiring room sets, taking colour inspiration from Africa, Islamic patterns and the sea. Envoy’s contract furniture came in quirky colours and textures, with intimate seating/working booths by Dutch brand TOOTheZOO and zingy pendant lights by the UK’S Assemblyroom. More rainbow furniture featured at Studio Dossier, with stripy fabrics at Sunbrella.
Even bathrooms got into the act, with Italian label Agape showing its gorgeous Novecento XL basin in a seductive deep blue. Abey Australia featured Gessi’s rose-gold tap as part of Prospero Rasulo’s sculptural Cono basin. Cibo Design’s modern bathware included acid-yellow basins. New bathroom kit was also launched by The English Tapware Company.
Lighting was no shrinking violet, with Sydney-based Abalos’s new dip-dyed-style Ombre pendant lights, formed from stretch nylon like dainty Asian lanterns. LightCo showcased colourful, feminine pendants contrasted with industrial styles. ISM Objects offered primary-hued lighting, as well as new Ziggy pendants by bernabeifreeman with graphic cut-pattern shades, and Waldman Lighting’s adaptable, customisable PARA.MI.
Local brands made a strong showing, judiciously curated alongside major global names. Factory Design District represented a collective of independent designers and manufacturers hailing from Sydney’s Inner West. Crafting contemporary wooden tables and chairs, daast, Jonathan West, JP Finsbury and Timbermill proved artisan craft is alive and well.
Melbourne furniture designer Ross Didier exhibited his new Brydie sofa. Sydney duo Savage Design brought industrial edge to their new dining table and chairs. Anaesthetic. Inde. Skeehan showed work by a trio of independent Australasian designers including angular Constellation pendant lights by Sydney-based Kiwis Ben and Kiri Wahrlich of Anaesthetic, shapely tables and stools by Jonathan Ingram of Inde and the timber Hoshi chair by Tom Skeehan. The Collective brought together five young Australian design brands, including strong lighting from Dezion Studio and PopPlus. One of Galleria’s most sophisticated stands belonged to Catapult Design, which champions local talents Ross Didier, Skeehan Studio and Ben-Tovim Design. Perth-based showroom District featured a stylish mix of names, including New Zealand’s David Moreland Design.
The Featured@Galleria zone saw curated selections from mainly Australian emerging talents, including Ross Gardam’s striking metal Aura pendant lights, Jade + Amber’s mixed-material Signature chair, Folio_Works’ pastel, textural seating and BSeated Global’s boomerang-shaped Walarnu seat. International products included Briggs Veneers’ Innato and Oberflex, SBSeating’s Paloma range, the Roy Tavolo from Viabizzuno, indigenous designed, handmade fabrics from Winya, the Flight task chair from District and RovingWorks’, Youmans’ and Creative Management Systems and Solutions’ tools for agile work environments.
International guests injected fresh ideas. French designer Philip Paris represented craft-furniture brand Maiori on Obodo’s stand, and Joaquim Pedro from funky German furniture house Zeitraum met guests at the eye-catching Café Culture + Insitu space. He also participated in a WorkLife seminar on office health and nutrition trends. American indoor/outdoor lifestyle brand Janus et Cie anticipated the spring launch of its first Sydney showroom in Rushcutters Bay with a chic tropical garden oasis at Galleria, with designer and president Janice Feldman on hand. Germany’s Bretz presented its spacey Cloud 7 sofa.
A posse of contemporary dancers showed off Own World’s new educational furniture by Danish brand Four Design, including the flexible, wheeled Innotab task chair with swivelling writing arm. Its sinuous timber Langdon armchair, by Chris Hardy for Worthy, provided static thrills.
Wellbeing at work was explored by DAL Brands, known for sit-stand desks, and powerhouse Herman Miller, which showcased Yves Behar’s revolutionary Public Office Landscape and its healthcare furniture range, plus hosted topical talks. Chairbiz offered visually pleasing acoustic space dividers, ‘Pincettes’ by Italy’s True Design, shaped like leaves. Adaptive Interiors’ new Snowsound acoustic panels by Caimi Brevitti came in bold hues; Zenith-BuzziSpace featured new hexagonal and circular soundproof tiles, plus the BuzziPicNic Meet table and benches bringing the outdoors in. Dezign Interiors and AMS Furniture Systems launched office furniture and Iken Commercial FF&E shared automation products.
Innovative materials came care of CDK Stone’s revolutionary sintered compact surface Neolith, De Poortere’s 2tec2 woven vinyl flooring Lustre, Sustainable Living Fabrics’ collection, Mafi’s eco-friendly decking from Kebony, Winspear Group’s Slide flooring by Listone Giordano, and Profile Fabrics’s Aqua Clean range.
New design solutions up for grabs spanned Eness’s interactive art installations, Aquabocci’s R-47 threshold drain, Atdec’s AV mounting technologies, Barrisol Sydney’s HALO lighting, Integ International’s Integ Lifting Column and Uplifting Solutions’ monitor arms. Zip kept folk hydrated with its Zip HydroTap.
Other expert suppliers included Markilux (awnings), Monier Roofing, Polytec (decorative surface products) and PGH Bricks & Pavers. Gibbon Group’s custom rugs starred a street-art-style scull motif. More carpet and flooring was showcased by RC+D, Shaw Contract Group and Seamless Surfaces.
The go-to spot for chic ticketed dinners, the Habitus Design Retreat, designed by Brisbane-based James Dawson, featured TheNest45’s tactile Blade kitchen by Modulnova, with Swiss kitchen appliances by V-Zug and Bolon flooring. Outside Galleria, Luxxbox gave away 30 outdoor Pillow chairs as prizes, while AK47 Space’s modern firepit kept Galleria’s home fires burning.
Watch for updates on Hong Kong Indesign, to be held from 19 – 20 November 2015.
Photography by Fiona Susanto Photography