Designers on your doorstep
2020 was a year where we all got to know our homes and immediate surroundings very well. Living on the Northern Beaches, for me this involved a lot of time exploring beaches, headlands and national park. I’ve always seen the Northern Beaches as a place of great natural beauty however I’ve come to realise there are very few vistas that don’t include evidence of human intervention, be it a polluted creek choked up with waste or plastic rubbish strewn across a sand dune.
The Carton Console showcases this through a unique use of natural and unnatural materials. The most eye-catching feature being the coloured plastic blocks that make up part of the table. These blocks are made from 130 melted down milk bottles that were collected from cafes in my local area. Similarly, the timber used was reclaimed from demolitions and kerbside pickups around my home. Waste materials were chosen for this project to demonstrate how much of what we waste still has life and that reusing these resources benefits the natural environment. Also how an appreciation for the origin of the materials used in the furniture in our homes instils a deeper connection with the object itself.
IMAGE > Harry Vasey, <em>Carton Console</em>, 2021, recycled HDPE (130 used milk bottles), reclaimed furniture panels, repurposed decking slats, repurposed fence post, 84 x 39 x 120 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
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Not being able to leave home every day for the last 3 months has taught me that design can’t exist in a vacuum. Designers of all kinds draw so much inspiration from the things we experience in our day to day lives. Some of this inspiration is obvious, an industrial designer for example might be inspired to redesign a kitchen gadget after an attempt at cooking dinner goes horribly wrong.
Equally though, a lot of this inspiration is subconscious and just from getting out there and absorbing the things we see around us, a designer’s brain is stimulated, and new ideas start flowing naturally. For me, being stuck at home has meant my creativity is at an all-time low. As a third-year product design student, I know this has certainly made my uni work much more challenging compared to other semesters. I can’t wait for lockdowns to end and to get back out and start experiencing new things again.
I’ve had to look closer to home (obviously) for my inspiration, and I think that’s reflected in the work I’ve done in the last few months. Most of the projects I’ve completed, as well as those I’m currently working on for university, tend to centre on furniture and other objects found around the house. Not only have I had to look closer to home for inspiration, but also for materials. All of the materials for the Carton Console came from within 5km of my house. The timber being found in kerb side clean ups and all the milk bottles coming from two cafes at my local shopping centre.
I associate my shed with the almost daunting feeling of excitement that comes with the beginning of a new project. Not to mention it’s also full of all my favourite tools, and I’ve got posters of some of my favourite movies on the walls.
My favourite design object at home is this sand timer I have on my desk. I’ll be honest, it’s completely unnecessary, I don’t really use it, I don’t even know how long it times for, but there is something about the proportions, colour and just watching the sand slowly pile up in the bottom chamber that I find very enjoyable to look at.
While I’m not much of a cook, I’ve certainly been trying my hand at a fair few cocktails during this lockdown. My favourite at the moment is a combination of gin, limoncello, passionfruit, lemon juice, simple syrup and just a bit of soda water. It’s nice and light but packs a decent punch too.