Melbourne Now countdown – day 23

The Melbourne Now fitout is providing me with a huge burst of productivity, so I’m very thankful for it. I’ve been commissioned to help design the interiors of both retail stores as well as providing stools for Gallery Kitchen at NGV International. It’s been six months in the making but as always it’s a sprint to the finish. So many people in art and design who I’ve met over the last 7 years of living in Melbourne are popping up with some involvement, so it’s clearly bringing the community together.

I’m creating several new Paper Tiger products for the store fitouts, as well as making a collection of children’s stools for retail sale with a beautiful illustration from the NGV collection. It will be an interpretation of an Albrecht Dürer print –  The Rhinoceros (1515) sold exclusively at the NGV. They are commissioning a range of kids products by different Melbourne designers using this print so it’ll be interesting to see.

The new cardboard products I’m making are a trestle table, a new super-generic stool and shelving cubes that I released earlier this year, but which have been fine-tuned for this event. I’m really interested in the success of products such as the standard Ikea bookshelf, and the Pauchard Tolix steel stools which are everywhere you look. I like to interrogate what it is that makes these products so appealing and interpret the spirit of them in cardboard.

All of the products I’m making are produced in Melbourne, and the philosophy is really about staying true to what Melbourne Now represents – which is focussing in on the talent and productivity of the locals. We’re creating an in-store environment that clears the decks and curates Melbourne design and designers at centre-stage, with trestle table displays at the walk-in points, and huge free-form walls of stacked of cubic shelving which hold anything from small ceramics to big suspended lighting displays. The fit-out will be made almost entirely from cardboard and will fly the colours of the Melbourne Now event for its three month duration. At the end of this they may send the display off to Visy for recycling, though it’s tempting to think that they’ll hold on to it and re-contextualise. My products are temporary in the sense that they are easily recycled, but I’ve had them as part of store fit-outs for as long as 5 years and counting. I recently revisited one client, Rogerseller, and the custom-printed stools I made for their showroom in 2008 are holding up perfectly, to my amazement!