Idle Hands Design is a design studio in Melbourne that works exclusively with steel. The founders – Kieran Meegan, a steel fabricator, and artist, Rickie-lee Robbie – are partners in life as well as work and their products offer unique problem solving to design dilemmas of sustainability while creating beautifully crafted objects that last for as long as you want them. After his industry in Australia was moved offshore, Kieran, a former shipbuilder, shares “I wanted to try and do something new, something fun.”
He adds: “We started up the business, got a workshop and started creating things…we saw an opportunity in steel, a chance to do something on a smaller scale. Small steel fabrication is a unique market, there is a niche of the product, and uniqueness of the projects.”
As everything is made in Australia, the duo can assure the quality of their products; and extend this beyond the physicality of the products into design and shipping.
Steel is a smart product for recycling as well, and can be melted and reused; rather than ending up in a landfill.
Sustainability and the dedication to future-proof their designs is key to Idle Hands. “We make sure that all the pieces are zinc plated, which means they’ll never rust, and the powder coat ensures it’ll keep its look forever,” says Kieran.
Steel is a smart product for recycling as well, and can be melted and reused; rather than ending up in a landfill. Kieran also adds that they always try to use local businesses for shipping and our commercial material needs, preventing ordering in products from overseas.
Their influences come from Brutalist architecture and its similar qualities to steel, both with a simple reduction of form, shape and line. “It’s honest and uncompromising,” says Kieran.
“Our design philosophy is centred around minimal use of the product. Steal is great for that, you can use very little, and it can lead to really create very simple impactful pieces.” Every part of the process has to be carefully considered. It leaves the design with a simple aesthetic, that is well thought through. The objects could look like pieces of art before you realise their functionality as a record holder or coffee table.
It’s a beloved process for the design couple, who have been together for 15 years. Kieran reveals, they complement each other, bringing new aspects to their relationship and always trying to do their best.
Idle Hands Design
Photography by Lauren Bamford
“You can use very little [steel] and it can lead to really create very simple impactful pieces.”
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Tags: Australian Made, brutalist architecture, Design Couple, Emma-Kate Wilson, Future Proof, Idle Hands Design, Kieran Meegan, Lauren Bamford, Melbourne, minimalism, Object Design, Rickie-Lee Robbie, steel, sustainability