The word ‘Extinct’ is printed in bone letters on the door of a small shop just off Elizabeth Street in Sydney’s Strawberry Hills. As I’m invited past the familiar objects on the ground floor I climb the stairs to the top of the old warehouse to meet the pair behind one of Australia’s most recognised design brands.
Sitting with Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs, it becomes clear that these are two people who have as much passion for what they do now as they did 25 years ago when manning a small jewellery stall at the local markets – along with co-founder Liane Rossler.
“We feel honoured and lucky to be a part of this company,” Stephen says, “because it’s grown into something we never imagined possible for us.”
Dinosaur Designs’ unique style has been “finetuned” over the years, but they’ve always stayed true to their original concept – a raw aesthetic that alludes to prehistoric forms.
Although the exact nature of the process is closely guarded, resin remains the core material of their works. Their unique casting techniques and themed collections keep them at the forefront of Australian design.
Following the success of their ‘Bones’ collection they are about to release their latest collection ‘Insects’. The result of extensive research into the structure, movement and colour of a range of insects, the new collection offers a vibrant range of jewellery and homewares.
“We went back and looked into the history of insects and how insect impacted on many cultures, particularly the Egyptians,” Louise explains.
“The insects pop up all the time,” says Stephen, “they’re a constant source of amusement for us and they’re always there.”
The collection draws on everything from dragonfly wings and cicadas to scarabs and centipedes. ‘Insects’ reflects the deep passion these two still have for their work.
“We’ve been working with this material for 25 years now and I think with that and with working in design for so long, you really do start to finetune in many ways, but the challenge also is to keep fresh and inventive at the same time,” Louise says. “So keeping that balance and that life-force through it has been important.”
Another great tip straight from Stephen and Louise; they’ve got an eBay store with one-of-a-kind pieces, samples and curated collections.