Spotlight on Australian Designers | Helen Kontouris

Seen in Space and Stylecraft showrooms this year during Melbourne’s Saturday InDesign, her supple and simple furniture inspires. She has collaborated with the likes of One Third Design, Alessi, Schiavello, Ritzenhoff and Celda, with her works being showcased in Belle, Vogue, InDesign, Artichoke, Monument and many other national and international publications.

Her design ethos is perhaps best described in her own words. “We live & breathe a culture of dreams, process & creativity. Our approach to each project is an opportunity to discover, learn, evolve, simplify, interpret, innovate and create. Strong creative partnerships are formed through our commitment, value, contribution & growth of our clients businesses. Our role as designer is not to give you the safe or predictable result.  We sometimes challenge & redefine the project to enable us to explore the possibilities we strongly believe in, whilst always respecting the client’s decision.”

“We believe ecology in design today, rests on the role of the designer as cultural architect, creating products with clear purpose, intelligent material appropriateness & function that arrest you with their beauty & promote a movement ‘against throwawayism’.  You are emotionally attached enough not to discard it.  When you no longer need it, give it to someone whom you know admires it or to charity for those who need it more now, than you."

I love that responsibility is taken as the designer to promote, encourage and even demand a holistic lifecycle approach to both the purchase and the retirement of their products. There is no reason that a product should not continue its life-after-you in one form or another, whether it is in perfect condition (go ebay or lucky friends), restorable (gumtree or second hand store), or completely decrepit (recycle those bits into something else or see what can be picked up for recycling by your council). Oh, how I miss the mass hard rubbish display around the neighbourhood at council collection time - it hurts to see people’s unwanted treasures now get picked up quickly and efficiently on individual basis, crushed into nothingness, when those poor items could easily have had another life or two. I digress.

She has a fun and informative website and blog, in which you get to read about her design processes and the happenings in the life of a talented designer, as well as peruse her many fabulous designs in detail, including the ones below. All images are from her website, which you can check out here.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces of hers.

The Penelope is a simple and classic steel and timber beauty, that was on display at Stylecraft during Saturday InDesign 2012. The masculine, honest structure of the legs complements the smooth streamlined timber top, allowing the polished woodgrain to feature.

Penelope Table and Side Table/Stool by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{Penelope Table and side table/stool - available at Stylecraft}

Her Scoop Egg Cup & Spoon collaboration with Alessi is a stand-out. What can I say - I am sure you have all seen this lovely, sculptural piece before. Beautiful but functional is epitomised in this lustrous and decadent egg cup. What a glamourous Sunday breakfast would be had with this baby. Puts my cheapo wire one to shame! It is now on the Christmas list.

Scoop Egg cup & Spoon for Alessi by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{Scoop Egg cup & Spoon for Alessi - Available at most department stores or online}

The La La Lamp is a floor lamp made of two conic, internally opaline coated fabric shades with a noiseless IGBT technology dimmer. Classic geometry combined with quirky lines create a real feature for any space. Unfortunately, I can’t find exact stockists in Australia, but it was featured at a Schiavello event and since they also stock her La La Stool, I am sure they could help you out.

La La Lamp by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{La La Lamp for Kundalini Italy}

La La Stool by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{La La Stool, Available at Schiavello}

The graceful lines and soft appearance of the Panier stool belies the fact that it is made from 100% recyclable Polyethylene and suitable for indoors or outdoors. Shortlisted for the best 'Object – furniture and lighting' in the IDEA Awards 2012 (to be announced November), this design highlights yet another triumph for Helen.

Panier Stool by Helen Kontouris | Read more on the RSD Blog
{Panier Stool, Available at Space}

I hope you enjoyed the first of what I hope will be many posts shining the spotlight on Australian Design.
Who is your favourite Australian Designer?

xo Romona
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