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Elliat Rich Wins AFDA 2017

In reverence to the beauty of the female ritual, the Alice Spring-based designer draws on her experience travelling across Central Australia to take the top place in the Australian Furniture Design Awards.

‘Place’ from Elliat Rich is a dainty oddity. Finely resolved timber pieces in soft stained colours fit together as a handcrafted jigsaw puzzle. Each segment scrutinised by hand to hook-in and intertwine into the greater body of the piece.

Held up to the judging panel, Place won Elliat first prize in the Australian Furniture Design Awards (AFDA) 2017. The awards are hosted by Adelaide not-for-profit design studio JamFactory and Australian-founded luxury furniture retailer Stylecraft. And together, they divulge the glorious minds of Australia’s far-reaching design community.

Based in Alice Spring, Elliat drew on her experience driving across the enduring Central Australian landscape in the creation of Place. The judging panel, consisting of JamFactory Creative Director, Jon Goulder; Stylecraft Brand Director, Tony Russell; Curator of Decorative Arts with the Art Gallery of South Australia, Rebecca Evans; Habitus Guest Feature Editor and Design Editor for the Australian Financial Review, Stephen Todd; and Practice Director for Carr Design Group, Susan Standring, were impressed by the conceptual foundation that supported Elliat’s work.


Described as a “sculptural vanity”, Place is an old-fashioned object d’art that evokes the grace and joy of the female ritual. The piece consists of a concealed drawer, formed out of stacked and coloured dowel, which creates a graphic confetti-style collage from the front view. Place also features a curvaceous, and removable, storage unit and velvet-covered pivoting mirror, all perched atop light timber legs.

“AFDA is an award with a huge amount of integrity and one that stands alone in the Australian design industry,” says Elliat. “I am really excited that this is just the beginning of such an amazing opportunity that will continue to roll out over the next few years and beyond.”

Elliat received a cash reward of $20,000 as well as the opportunity to undertake a residency in JamFactory’s furniture studio. Here Elliat will be able to develop new work to go into production for Stylecraft throughout Australia and Singapore. Further, Place will be on show as a part of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s permanent collection.

Words by Ella McDougall