Jon Goulder never set out to be a designer – he was simply born an artisan. Growing up in regional New South Wales, the self-proclaimed country lad spent much of his formative years at the workbenches of his father, uncle, and grandfather; three generations of Goulder furniture makers. Though Jon lovingly embraced the tuition of his elders, by the age of twenty he’d decided that a career of reupholstering tattered Victorian antiques was not for him.
Abandoning his post within the family business, Jon forged his aesthetic sensibilities at the Canberra School of Art under the mentorship of the late George Ingham. He then set up his own consultancy before heading to Perth as head of workshop of Form’s furniture studio at its Midland Atelier. With this experience, Jon received an invite from the Jam Factory’s Brian Parkes to head to Adelaide and re-think the furniture studio. In 2018, following four years at the Jam Factory, Jon set up shop inside the Adelaide office of Snøhetta Architects Australasia, to whom he provides senior design and production consultancy.
To say that Jon’s furniture-making career has transcended that of the Goulder’s before him is something of an understatement. A nationally celebrated artisan, Jon has won several design prizes and his work is held in permanent collections by local, state, and national art galleries and museums – including the National Gallery of Australia. The beaten-up Victorian chaise lounges of his apprentice years have long been pushed to the corners of his creative consciousness, until now.
Jon’s latest collection, Broached Goulder, is the creative manifestation of the mid-career designer–maker he is today, reconnecting with the boy from Bowral. Initiated by creative studio, Broached Commissions, Broached Goulder is a collection of finely crafted, ambitious design pieces with the capacity to reflect on the traditions of design. Each piece riffs on a different design period covered by one or another member of the Goulder family and these styles have been synthesized with Jon’s contemporary craftsmanship.
Central to the design process was a yearning to recreate the memories of his childhood, without reproducing the forms that so repelled him. The woven panels of the Credenza and woven upholstery of the Chaise Lounge, by prolific textile artist Liz Williamson, represent the memory of all the fabrics that hung along the walls of the Goulder workshop. Similarly, the Maharam leather in the collection has been supplied by Kvadrat Maharam and has been used in highly complex and varied ways: as woven pieces to form the intricate sliding doors of the credenza and the chaise lounge, then as a robust water formed skin backing a standing-mirror and finally as a laminated structural form in the console.
In its entirety, Broached Goulder is a synthesis of technical innovation with traditional techniques. The result is a collection of limited-edition furniture that combines deep memory with Jon’s contemporary practice, defined by a passion for testing the boundaries of hand-crafted form.
Photography courtesy of Broached Commissions
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