Designers on your doorstep
Throughout Melbourne’s lockdowns, activities were reduced to the essentials, a lot more time was spent in the home, eating out switched to eating in, and countless hours were spent looking at the same set of objects. While at times frustrating, it did show a lot of us how important home is, how much we can live without, and the fun of making do with what we have - at least, that was my takeaway.
IMAGE > Kaspian Kan, What's the Takeaway?, 2021, Takeaway containers, paper, steel, paint, broken lamps, 65 x 80 x 60 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Not for sale
As with many other areas of life, spending so much time at home brought a more inward focus to design - dealing with the outside world was too much at times, so creating things that were about the pleasure of the process, connecting with my housemate, and my own enjoyment of the outcome.
I found spending a lot of time in the one space forced me to look at things in different ways, and that led to a burst of creativity, and trying to find ways to make things without access to materials and equipment. As a student, I had no access to the uni workshop for most of the time spent in lockdown, so home became a playground of ideas and experiments, making do with what I had.
My lockdown secret is that my lounge room playground (and sometimes prison) became so engrossing, that I didn’t really look outside much - I can get a bit obsessive and forget to do things that aren’t in my current obsession. Finding the perfect takeaway container for a particular lamp, after an exhaustive search, was an amusing highlight, much to the confusion of the shop staff.
While social experiences were limited, the communal space of the lounge room was important for sanity, and provided an abundance of creative interaction, play and experimentation. My housemate and I started adding lamps for a more cozy feel; this quickly turned into creating lamps, and we began to embrace a maximalist decor style. It’s pretty over the top, but I love it, and I find coloured lights to be more soothing than standard white lights.
As a practical person, I enjoy things that help me make stuff. I greatly appreciate well made tools of accuracy, so my housemate’s vernier calipers have received a good workout. I also really love a sharp pencil sharpener. During the lockdown last year, the shavings came of one pencil in such a perfect spiral; I was so enamoured with it that I kept it for several weeks until it’s tragic demise underfoot.
Tea is a very useful tool for breaking up the day. I’m not a drinker of caffeine, so my go-to is a blend of rooibos and peppermint, with a good drop of soy milk. Honey is a good addition, but you don’t want to be doing that all day (it’s important to save some sweetness quota for cake or icecream).