Dean Norton <em>Concave convex mirror</em> 2020; steel, mirror, digital print. Purchased, Supporters of Contemporary Design and Architecture, 2021. Courtesy of the designer<br/>
© Dean Norton. Photo: Predrag Cancar / NGV

Dean Norton

Dean Norton
(b. 1981, Essex, England. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Designer Dean Norton creates minimalist furniture, objects and lighting that merge art and design aesthetics. Norton established his own studio in 2017 and has become renowned for sculptural products that consider form, function and refined detailing. His work explores various finishes and materials, finding harmony and balance across glass, mirror, steel and timber.

For Melbourne Now, Norton presents Concave convex mirror, 2020, a piece recently acquired for the NGV’s permanent collection. The mirror was originally designed for Ductility, presented by alt.material during Melbourne Design Week in 2020. Here, Norton focuses on the pliability of his materials and how they influence the viewer’s perception of form. A smoky grey illusion mirror is recessed in a custom timber mould, spun with mild steel. When viewed at eye level, from left to right at a 45-degree angle, the mirror creates an uncanny reflection, appearing to bend inwards and protrude outwards simultaneously – an optical trick created by reflecting the curved form of the outer frame. Like much of Norton’s work, Concave convex mirror is both a functional object and an artistic statement with deep emotional resonance.

Norton has a background in graphic and interior design and was recently described as one of the ‘best new designers out there’ by Dwell magazine (United States) as part of their Rising Stars list (2022). His 2021 series Containa, which responded to feelings of confinement during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns, was exhibited at Rossana Orlandi during Milan Design Week and the Lake Como Design Festival in 2022, and won the Prize Designs for Modern Furniture and Lighting Award (2022), a competition first launched by New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1949 and now conferred by Global Design News and the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. Norton also won the Judges Choice Award at the VIVID Emerging Designer Awards in 2021, which he was a finalist for in 2020, and has been shortlisted for numerous IDEA, Dezeen and Design Files Design Awards. He held a solo show at Modern Times in 2022, and has exhibited at Craft Victoria, Brussels Collectible Design Fair, Melbourne Design Fair, Melbourne Design Week and Fringe Furniture. Norton holds a Bachelor of Arts (Retail Interior Design) from the University of the Arts, London.