Material Matters: How Design Feels

One of the great joys of DENFAIR is being able to feel and experience an array of award-winning design in person. Year on year, tactile new pieces from our diverse exhibitor community invite interaction from an audience of inquisitive, detail-driven architects and designers.

Melbourne-based creative Makiko Ryujin has a unique understanding of timber, taking home this year’s Front | Centre award with her striking Shinki Burning Vessels. Once turned, Ryujin surrenders her timber vessels to the fire, using an age-old Japanese technique developed to preserve the material. Borne of a process both handmade and elemental, no two objects in the collection can be the same. Find out more about DENFAIR’s Front | Centre initiative for emerging designers here.

Another collection shaped carefully by hand is the beaded lighting and decor at Klaylife. Produced by a community of women in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, every bead is sun dried, kiln-fired and dyed before being assembled into place on its frame. Their elaborate chandeliers and smaller-scale pendants bring an earthy appeal to interiors, evoking the hues of the South African landscape.

With three generations of potters behind their Australian family-run business, Robert Gordon are masters of stoneware crockery. Their offering has recently extended to include fully vitrified bespoke bathroom basins, on show at DENFAIR alongside an interactive clay pit which encouraged visitors to get hands-on with the raw material. This playful element contributed to the stand’s High Commendation at this year’s DENFAIR Awards, where they were also acknowledged for their clean lines and stylish silhouette of their Kiln 515 basin range. For a full list of this year’s DENFAIR Award Winners and High Commendations, click here.

Nash and Copper’s range of expertly woven rugs caused many a double-take at DENFAIR. Not only does the detailed handiwork require a closer look, but the metallic lustre of the rugs themselves has to be experienced firsthand. Whether fique plant fibre combined with copper, or a standout rug made entirely of copper alone, each piece is painstakingly crafted by one solo artisan weaver, in Colombia. And given Nash and Copper’s close relationship with their manufacturing team, a custom weaving service is also available – showcasing the inimitable skill of the human hand and eye.

Earning a High Commendation at the DENFAIR Awards for their Linea Acoustic Pendant Light, Luxxbox is a prime example of where unexpected material applications can shape smart design. Crafted from a minimum of 65% recycled material, their Blade Acoustic Pendant range can help reduce up to 80% of reverberated sound, for a solution both practical and sustainable.

Breezeblocks are back in architectural circles, and Cubic Products’ decorative range offers a contemporary graphic complement to regular brickwork. Cubic’s collection is robust yet delicate, available in a smooth white finish which requires no further painting post-installation. A stylish aid to passive thermal building.

Local family-owned business, Laine, specialise in intelligently designed textiles crafted to enhance our interiors. Case in point: while Lux, their new high performance velvet, exudes the high-impact glamour of delicate fabric, it also achieves commercial-grade durability with a 100,000 Martindale rub count. Their intriguing NOW concept invites designers to apply a selection of four quilted designs to their range of textile and vinyl, adding both texture and improved acoustic performance.

Among The Flooring Co.’s curated range of globally-sourced rugs are the vibrant Freestile and RugXStyle collections by Mark and Kathrin Patel at Object Carpet. These flat-woven, digitally-printed carpet tiles represent a convergence between heritage inspiration and pattern, with modern sensibility. Designed to be installed at random, they present an array of design options for either commercial or residential application.

For the Design Institute of New Zealand’s activation at DENFAIR, entitled Palisades, Autex Industries collaborated with Kiwi designer, James McNab, on an undulating shell within which contemporary designers from NZ could showcase their work. Each vertical cylinder was wrapped in Autex’s Composition fabric, inspired by the structure of early settlements built throughout New Zealand.