In November 2017, I was approached by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to participate in the Rigg Design Prize. This is a triennial event aimed at celebrating all elements of design. 2018 was to highlight interior design and explore the theme of Domestic Living at its present stage in Australia by 10 of the country's leading designers by each interpreting the brief into a 40m2 space that would be on exhibit for 5 months. I was honoured to be chosen as one of them.
It was not without its challenges. Firstly, I am located in Sydney and the exhibition is in Melbourne. Being an institution there are many, many regulations to adhere too, overall logistics, a largely self-funded project and having a member of my design team committed on the project full time for 6 months.
To start the design process of such a broad theme, I looked & delved into the memory of some of my favourite illusions I have created over the past 25 years of my career in my photo shoots, design projects, my own homes and other peoples. It was a rare opportunity to not only to be my own client but also my own muse and I called my installation, IMAGINARIUM. From the start I imagined how visitors would view the space and how I would inspire them to take ideas home for their own home. My vision was also to create a complete space that my family and friends would love to be in and consider how they would use it. I broke up the room into 8 zones: Dining, Research, Cabinet of Curiosity, Frippery, Bed/Lounge Bar, Alchemy Workshop, Crow’s Nest.
The space measures 40m2, 6.5m x 6.5m with a 3.4m high ceiling. We had to work with the notion of viewing penetrations, one fixed wall and that it would sit on a platform. A simple base build shell was supplied and everything else was up to us! I endeavoured to prefab as much as possible and much of my space is constructed through furniture placement & flow.
The space is completely custom & bespoke, and speckled with props from my object library or sourced from vintage & antique stores as well as pieces from my hardware range and other products available from my shop The Society inc. When it came to base materials, I used Tongue N Groove wooden floor in Otta Vecchio Finish. The zones are indicated by the change in my flooring design, which create thresholds and a variation in board patterns. The ceiling by The Classic Family was painted in aluminium and rust paint that will continue to change although they are very light weight pressed PVC panels reminiscent of traditional pressed tin. The walls we painted canvas drop sheets in ‘Boro 2’ from my paint range with Murobond and had them handstitched onto the wall during install that are then anchored by a beautiful zinc dado with profile detailing by my ever-talented blacksmith, Saul of Colo Forge.
Over a series of following blog posts I will explore each of the zones, their purpose & inspiration, the pieces that fill them and the various suppliers and makers that made them come to life.
Otta Vecchio Finish oak floorboards from Tongue N Groove
PVC panelling pressed tin & downpipes from The Classic Family
Murobond paint – Colours include ‘ Boro 2’ used on Curiosity wall, Threadbare for base of mural & Porcelain on rendered bar wall from The Society inc paint range
Zinc panelling, Alchemy workshop and curtain rails by Saul of Colo Forge
Salvaged encaustic tiles in bar from Jatana Interiors
Tumbled marble tiles in Alchemy Workshop from Teranova Tiles
FIXED FURNITURE & FITTINGS
Panhandler Brackets in Brass, Colo Forge Knife Rack & Porters Hooks from The Society inc
Ceramic sink by Robert Gordon Australia
Bathroom hand stamped steel stand by Colo Forge
Perrin & Rowe Ionian bench mounted tapware with porcelain taps in raw brass from The English Tapware Company
Cast Iron Tennessee Slow Combustion Wood Heater by Oblica
‘Fuck Everything Mirror’ gold & white gold leafed mirror with water marbled background by Will Lynes of Lynes & Co
Antiqued mirrors by Outlines
GPO & toggle light switches by Tradco
Momentum headphones by Sennheiser
‘Please Listen’ leather tags by Kind.Sir
Senate Bench, Rainbow Armchair and Stool in ebonised American black walnut by Sawkille Co.
Fibreglass Roly Poly Dining Chair by Faye Toogood from Hub Furniture
You&Me Isola sofa/bed in linen by Ennio Arosio from Hub Furniture
Gravity Tables made from Camphor Laurel & Steel by Toby Jones from Criteria
Vintage Workmans Bench (bar), Oak table (Alchemy workshop) & small butchers block stool from Fossil Vintage
Coogee Arm Chair in custom upholstery from Tigger Hall & Mokum by Molmic
Custom 3.4m Hand carved oiled walnut table by Ilse Crawford from Hub Furniture
Bush craft table by Greg Hatton
Sculptor’s table by Stuart Pinkerton
SEQUANA Big Herringbone Pale denim DONEGAL TWEED, ROSE TARLOW FASO in Laurel, ROSE TARLOW FASO in Alder, ROSE TARLOW GIGI in Charbon, ROSE TARLOW GIGI in Canard, ROSE CUMMING in Camille Blue, Nine Muses GREEK PLATE in Charcoal 2 from Tigger Hall Design
Satori Moss, Satori Ochre, James Dunlop Palo Mojito, Alpaca Velvet Deep teal, Alpaca Velvet Camel, Alpaca Velvet Blush, Andreas Ecru, Eternal Petrol, Shibui Nude, Shibui Pebbles from Mokum
La Rochelle linen in Pewter & Grenache from Raffles Textiles
Watercolour bovine leather ‘Persian rug’ by Shibori
Tobacco & rust linen sheets and pillowcases from In the Sac
Duomo brass floor lamps from Anaesthetic
Il Fanale Poggio porcelain & copper pendant lights from Light Co
Banks Lantern 120 and rope wall light from The Society inc
Cardboard candelabra Noelle Riguadie
Arancini Jnr in Travertine, brass & glass by Moda Piera
Cage lighting from The Society inc
Fabric covered light cord and lampholders from Duckfat
Mangrove Song musical assemblage by Joshua Yeldham
Owl sculpture by Anna-Wili Highfield
Cardboard columns, mirror frame & candelabra by Noelle Riguadie
Colonial Boy by Paul Ryan (located on Cabinet of Curiosity wall)
Mural, Globe light and faux render by scenic painter, Neil Mallard
Paints, pigments, shells, bar paraphernalia, rope, C.19th Roller skates, 1920’s beaded dress sourced by Seasonal Concepts
Carpenter’s apron in canvas, leather & brass crafted by Carpenter’s Daughter
Wooden chain from our wonderful Indian manufacturer Namit
Hardware & objects from The Society inc
Branches foraged by Katie Marx Flowers
Firestarter from George & Willy
All other props & objects are my very own personal effects
TEAM Sibella Court | Captain Ben Harper | Deck hand Kelly Ross | First mate James Lister | Rigger Dave Austin | Builder Benjamin Walbrook | Soundscape Neil Mallard | Scenic Painter Noelle Rigaudie | Cardboard artist Alexis Wolloff | Seamstress Vu Dang | Flooring Bobby Peacock | Glazier Saul Tomkins of Colo Forge | Blacksmith And The Society inc team
To delve further into my IMAGINARIUM read the lovely words by journalist Nicholas Carolan.