A Sunburned Country: Design and the Australian Sun
Few would disagree that, as a nation, we love the great outdoors. But sometimes it doesn’t love us back. How does A+D respond to the harsh conditions of the Australian climate?
You would be hard-pressed to come to an absolute conclusion whether, for Australians, December 1st or January 1st causes more celebration. Sure, the New Year seems to capture our imaginations with brilliant fireworks displays across the country. But, December 1st sets fireworks off in our hearts every year without fail. As the first day of summer we suffuse it with so much fantasy: the dreamed sensation of sunshine on the back of our necks; the smell of sunscreen and sea-salt; of those long afternoons spent sipping local wines of such unique sweetness, like a tart green apple sliced with a cold steel knife. The Australian orientation toward summer proves that our way of life quintessentially revolves around the outdoors.
However, this doesn’t come without its distinct problems. The Australian climate is notoriously harsh and unforgiving.
Recent innovation to research and development processes within our A+D community has been concerned with ways in which we can respond to such extreme conditions. For instance, Urban Commons – the proudly Australian-made and owned furnishing brand established in 2011 – understands that central to designing for the Australian outdoors is the need to consider endurance as a key element in the design process. Their recent Raft Collection by Justin Hutchison for Stylecraft takes materiality one step beyond ‘longevity’ to really respond to what endurance might mean under the unforgiving conditions of the Australian sun.
Featuring heat-retardant mild steel zinc powder coating, the Raft Collection of modular seating options is rigorously tested for superior anti-corrosive powers. High-purity fine-grained zinc particles doubly prevent the eroding properties of salt, long-term rust and sun bleaching. Coupled with the hard wood element of Australian Spotted Gum slats, the Raft Collection weathers our local extremes while remaining just at home on balconies or rooftop gardens as well as residential or commercial spaces.
Designed to promote the ‘common spirit’ of connecting people with one another and their environment, the collection’s adaptability allows for multiple configurations thanks to various length platforms, high or low backrests, accompanying tables, slide armrests and planter boxes. All upholstered elements adhere to the demanding R+D standards of engineering Stylecraft is known for: the robust performance characteristics of textiles that are resistant to fading, degradation, sunlight and chemical exposure.
Words by David Congram.