Henry Sgourakis is definitely an Australian designer to watch, and with plans to start a multi-disciplinary design firm, it could be anything from houses to chairs to bathroom fixtures. Here, we talk to Henry about his NOOK chair and foot stool.
How did the design come about?
NOOK evolved from some long crochet sessions with my grandmother. Initial ideas drew on my childhood growing up in a post-war home in Warrandyte, outer Melbourne.
Surrounded by arts and crafts, I wanted to create a piece that drew on such fond memories. I began to crochet anything I could find, the process generating some exciting results.
Nook was actually inspired by paper doilies, commonly considered cheap and tacky. Nook takes that tradition, which went wayward, and brings the splendor of lacework into furniture. It was very important to me to have the webbing move back to its original flat when not in use.
Where do you see your furniture being used?
In the beginning I set out to create an indoor piece aimed at residential and commercial applications, but nook has developed into a chair that can be used in almost any application.
As the cord is UV protected and can withstand harsh weather conditions for long periods of time, the chair can be a feature piece in a home/office/hotel, and also a fun outdoor chair for any deck or pool-side.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I do enjoy letting a material inspire a design, combining an interesting material with a contrasting ‘process’ can have exciting results. I regularly draw my surroundings for inspiration.
You recently graduated, how did you go about making your design a reality?
NOOK was a progression from my final year project of Industrial Design. After finishing my course, it was a case of refinement, some material tweaks, and designing the piece to be more manufacture-friendly.
It can be a slow and tough industry in Australia, but luckily I have some great mentors on hand to keep me focused. Networking with an assortment of creative people is a necessary and helpful tool in constructively scrutinizing a concept and growing an idea into a product.
Can you tell us about the ecological aspects of the design?
The steel framing has been kept to a minimum in regards to both amount of material and manufacturing. As my preferred steel manufacturer uses maximum amount of recycled steel, the frame itself generates a very minimal footprint. There is almost no waste in its production.
The webbing is produced from 85 metres of cord, hand crocheted and attached. Preliminary results from RMIT’s Centre for Design ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ rated the product very well and extremely sustainable due to its durability and low-emission manufacturing methods.
Do you have other products in production?
Recently I have been working in collaboration with ArthurG furniture to create a steel framed dinning chair for their catalogue of locally manufactured high-end furniture.
We have a great relationship and they are an excellent Australian company so the design and development process was fantastic. The piece is soon to be in their showrooms around the country.
Also, I was approached last year by a another Australian company to develop a new range of toilets for their growing brand. We have spent 8 months on the project and are now in final stages. The range consists of a 3 product family.
You can contact Henry directly to find out more about NOOK.