Ella Saddington <em>Curiosity cabinet</em> 2022; stainless steel, leather, wax. Courtesy of the designer<br/>
© Cordon Salon. Photo: Dustin Bailey

Ella Saddington

Ella Saddington
(b. 1986, Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Ella Saddington is a designer, artist, curator and co-founder of Cordon Salon, a studio that creates finely crafted collectable design and functional art. Saddington’s furniture and object design investigates overlooked, forgotten and lost processes and materials to examine ideas of community, materiality and aesthetics.

For Curiosity cabinet, 2022, Saddington reimagines the Wunderkammer, a Victorian-era cabinet used to display collections of trinkets and oddities. Where the originals showcased objects behind glass, Saddington’s version keeps its inner workings and precious contents hidden behind a polished, reflective stainless-steel shell. Once opened, the cabinet reveals a chest-like interior – a place for valuables or perhaps just the necessities. Made in collaboration with metal sculptor and armourer Sam Bloomfield, Curiosity cabinet was constructed using various modern and traditional armour-making methods, including fluting techniques that mould metal into a bodily shape, similar to darting and bias cutting in garment construction. Saddington also drew inspiration from her upbringing on an isolated farm where, as a child, she took comfort in the myths and legends of family folklore. A family tree took pride of place in her childhood home, tracing ancestry back to the 1600s, where Saddington imagined herself as part of a lineage of brave knights. Originally exhibited in Self Portrait, a show curated by Friends & Associates for Melbourne Design Week in 2022, Curiosity cabinet explores the designer’s own nature – ‘a reflection of myself in form as in the process that made it’, she explains.

Founded in 2018, Cordon Salon has developed work for local and international clientele and exhibited widely, including at Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne Design Fair, Sydney Design Week and Craft Contemporary at Craft Victoria, with a 2021 solo showcase at Sophie Gannon Gallery. In 2022 Saddington was awarded the George Alexander Fellowship from the International Specialised Skills Institute and was a resident at BETA by STH BNK in 2021–22, where she worked with waste materials from the fashion industry. In 2020 Saddington also founded the collectable design curatorial project New Assemblage, and is a curator and producer for the gallery Oigåll Projects.