Monday, October 13, 2008

Object Gallery - Design Discovery award

Almost to the end of the Sydney photos... been working feverishly on my Surry Hills / Darlinghurst shopping guide and illustrated map - nearly done! Anyway it'll be up in the next couple of days... :)

Object Gallery was on my 'must-see' list in Sydney. They tout themselves as 'Australia's leading centre for craft and design'.... I'm loathe to play favourites(!), but they certainly are up there with the best when it comes to the support of Australian craftspeople and designers. They're similar to Craft Victoria in many ways - both organisations are not-for-profit, government-funded initiatives, comprising a gallery space and retail shop, and both showcasing and promoting the work of local designers and artisans.

Object Gallery's incredible exhibition space (top image) was originally a chapel, and was designed by iconic Sydney architect Ken Wooley. In addition to staging 6 annual exhibitions of craft and design here each year, Object Gallery facilitates numerous national touring exhibitions (such as the recent Design Now exhibition at the Melbourne Museum), a further 2 exhibitions at Sydney's Opera House every year, and produces the quarterly Object Magazine - a carefully curated and beautifully put-together publication which (of course) I bought during my visit! (Issue 56 features an article by recent interviewee Kate Rhodes, who you'll know is one of Object Gallery's curators!)

Currently Object Gallery is hosting the annual Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award Exhibition until November 2nd. I don't quite understand why the exhibition features different work than the recent Design Discovery exhibition at the Melbourne Museum (also curated by Object gallery)... Can't figure that out! Anyway, great great stuff to see - the best round-up of Australian design I've seen in a while actually. Was great to see Trent Jansen's highly publicised Pregnant Chair after all the buzz it created in Milan. Gotta say... I wasn't hugely taken with the piece after hearing so much hype... I love the concept but its perhaps a little clunky in the flesh? But I love his Kissing Pendants! Cute idea and a really simple, classy execution. Love it.

*update - I just received an email from the lovely Liane Rossler of Dinosaur Designs, who was kind enough to clear up some of my confusion! Liane is one of the judges of the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery award, and explained that the recent exhibition in Melbourne was in fact a showcase of the 2007 finalists, whereas the current Sydney show is the 2008 finalists - the winner of which will be announced in a couple of weeks. Both exhibitions were designed by Stephen Goddard and are very similar in their layout, hence my confusion! Liane also mentioned that her husband Sam Marshall was the architect who redesigned Ken Woolley's original Chapel when Object Gallery took over the space a few years ago.

Other favourites below:

Loved the Aurora Lamp by John Hoogendoorn ... bit difficult to photograph so I grabbed this shot from indie art and design.

Trent Jansen - top Kissing Pendants. love love LOVE them! When the lights are off they hand separately, side by side. When they are pushed together, a magnetic attraction connects them and the lamps switch on! AGGHH I want one!. Also that Pregnant Chair (just in case you haven't seen it already - highly unlikely!).

Christina Waterson's stunning suspended installation of plexa modules

Butterfly screen / partitioning system - Stuart McFarlane

Bedrock lamps by Henry Wilson - each simple light is weighted by a raw concrete base, created it seems using a small plastic bag as a mold. Really honest, simple design. Very striking stuff. Apparently Henry Wilson is off to do a masters at the famed Design Academy Eindhoven.... This is one name to watch!

Object Gallery
417 Bourke st
Surry Hills, NSW

ph. 02 9361 4511

Open Tues - Sun
11.00 - 6.00pm


  1. Some lovely pieces on show! Good to see some of my favourites from the Brissie Launch Pad exhibition as well...

    I recently discovered Object magazine and I absolutely love it, it is a gorgeous publication!

  2. Hi again Kim! :) Thanks so much for your comment... yes this exhibition had such a lot of great work from all over the country... I love seeing all this fantastic new Australian Design! I just can't get enough of Trent Jansen's Kissing Pendants... truly world-class design... I hope he makes an impression on the wider design world with that one :)

    Yes Object Magazine is such a breath of fresh air amongst all the advertising-driven glossy mags out there! I love the quality, matt cardstock and the simple, clean layout... gorgeous stuff!