Interpretations is an ongoing series of exhibitions held every two years and curated by industrial designer Andrew Simpson of Vert Design. Currently showing at Object Gallery, this is the fourth iteration of the series and features design objects from a range of Sydney designers.
“The idea for the series came about eight years ago when I was working as a glass blower,” says Simpson. “My technical knowledge of glass was rapidly expanding but as my knowledge increased I started to self-censor my ideas by replacing concepts that were less likely to succeed with the processes I was more familiar with.” At the same time a number of designers Simpson admired were presenting glass projects that they were interested in undertaking. “I could see that the naive approach I had taken when I was new to glass allowed me to be creative in a different way,” he adds, “so I asked six of Sydney’s best designers if they would like to be involved in a group exhibition, which evolved into Interpretations.”
Previous shows have explored a range of materials and processes including glass blowing, sheet metal forming and sand casting. “The idea is that local Sydney designers get together and share ideas in regards to a theme or particular manufacturing process,” explains Simpson. “Each installment challenges the participating designers to embrace a new process and produce work for exhibition.”
This year Simpson invited Charles Wilson, Henry Wilson, Michael Alvisse, Liane Rossler, Andrew Simpson, Oliver Smith, Tasman Munro and Guy Keulemans to contribute pieces to the show.
“This year the brief was stone in all its form and processes including hand working and digital formation using the latest technologies. This year more than others has forced the team to look at unfamiliar processes and ways of working which is evident in the creative outcomes,” Simpson adds. “Stone is a very tactile and exciting material, but it exists on the fringe of industrial design. There is a huge stone manufacturing industry in Australia that basically just services the creation of bench tops. I wanted to challenge that.”
Simpson’s own contribution features a bedside table and two vessels. “I had the table made using the dominant stone-working process in industry, where sheet marble is CNC cut using a diamond saw. I then used hand tools to create a small dish to allow for small objects to feel more ordered on the surface.”
His two vessels are water-jet cut-outs of marble and glass which have been laminated together and then cut using hand polishing tools. “I always thought of the polishing tools as glass tools but discovered that they are really repurposed stone cutting tools. I wanted to highlight this in the works and show that stone and glass could be worked together.”
“The process of working with these designers to achieve a desired form changed the way some stonemasons use their machines, opening up new possibilities for what can be created,” adds Simpson. “This is a great example of the two-way benefit that comes from industry–designer collaborations.”
The exhibition will be running from 27 February – 21 March 2013 at Object Gallery, 417 Bourke Street, Surry Hills.