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  • Materials: Maori Motif D88 rug, Avis Higgs and Dilana. Cut and Sew Lamp, Guy Hoffman."Something that fascinates me as a designer is the deliberate use of textile to function as both a buffer and a distraction inside the home. The use and manipulation of textiles is a growing interest both personally and within my practice. I am particularly interested in investigating production techniques and capabilities. My most recent work, the Cut and Sew Lamp, for instance attempts to replicate and exaggerate this idea of distraction, mimicking the soft ‘reconciliation' of the carpet in the gentle bell curvature of the frame and the ease of the draping fabric." - Guy Hoffman
  • Materials: Free Run + shoe by Nike. Be chair by Formway Design/Formway. "In designing the Be chair, Formway asked, what determines the shape and performance of a chair? Well of course you, the sitter, should determine this. You need to sit the way you want to sit. Similar in many respects to the Nike Free shoe, we need a chair that provides freedom of movement with continuous support; a chair that follows your lead; a chair that enables multiple positions for the many tasks you perform throughout the day; a chair where you can simply ‘be'." - Kent Parker, Formway Design
  • Materials: Spiral staircase, designer unknown. Virtue Dress by Cybèle. "The way in which I work when designing a seasonal collection involves pulling together a range of visual material, thoughts and impulses which relate variously to colour combinations, figurative imagery, textures, shape and form. The inspiration board where my two images of spiral staircases have lived for the past 6 months or so is a living and ever changing work in progress. The inspiration board matches the seasons and collections as they develop in an organic way that cannot be fully articulated in words or theories." - Cybèle
  • Materials: Bordeaux bottle by O-I Asia Pacific. A Lean Year bottle by Alt Group. "When considering a wine bottle, it is often the silhouette shape that immediately comes to mind and in this way it has become a symbol for conversation, celebration and commemoration. We all have an ‘everyday' relationship with the bottle, but when that relationship becomes a habit, we sometimes forget the day before. So what happens when you mess with an archetype? You push up against what you already know, open up possibilities, unlock new meaning and make the familiar worth another look." - Alt Group
  • Materials: Oriental screen, designer unknown. Winton Gown by Hailwood. "Like all practical objects there is a use for my screen: it acts as a room divider in my store, blocking off the bomb site of the work table from the public. Interestingly however, I have used embroidery and block colour in my clothing designs for a while now. Capturing the extraordinary preciousness and tactile nature of hand crafted objects and images within a garment is, for me, an honorable thing to do. It is something that is reflected in the screen that I picked up for a song all those years ago and which now holds pride of place in my store." - Adrian Hailwood
  • Materials: Paper stapler, Designer unknown, imprinted as ‘distributed by In|Form design'. Leaning shelf by Katy Wallace. "The shelf that accompanies the paper stapler in Quotidian works to maximise the aesthetic and engineering qualities of plywood. Cut from a rectangle of material, the shelves, once slotted in place leave the voids they have been cut from for books and objects. Gravity rests the shelves to a level position in each slot, and once pushed through to contact the wall and wedged in place, the shelves act as a brace to stop the unit flexing. Essentially it is the tolerances between the plywood parts and how they operate in space that make the whole work."
  • Materials: LCD elevator indicator by Schindler Lifts. Yonkers Line typeface design by Jonty Valentine. "My Yonkers typeface was developed from this liquid crystal signage system. What was most interesting for me in developing this typeface was the contradiction or tension in attempting to on the one hand simplify the letterforms so that they fit in to the system, while at the same time trying to create a really complex system that could accommodate an advanced set of letters never meant to be so homogenized. Yonkers incorporates my attempt at re-designing the ubiquitous LCD typeface grid and then expands upon it to create an almost implausibly extended "expert" set of characters." - Jonty Valentine
  • Materials: Big Block Chevrolet V8 cylinder head 496 - 632 cubic inches (8.1 - 10.3 litres) by Masport Foundries. Floor Lamp by Jamie McLellan. "Beyond cast metal, my fascination with engineered objects has led to many of my designs being expressive of their ‘insides', with nothing hidden and no sides that shouldn't be seen. Indeed, my carbon Floor Lamp is born of this process. Instead of being routed internally as is typical for standing lamps, the electrical cable in this work is crucial not only to the silhouette of the object, but also to the structure." - Jamie McLellan
  • Materials: Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter by Marcello Nizzoli. Lomak light operated keyboard and mouse, design by peterhaythornthwaite//creativelab, invented by Mike Watling. "Just as the Lettera 22 was designed for communication, so was the Lomak keyboard. The Lomak was designed for physically disabled people who cannot effectively use a computer. The design focused on causing the users to feel advantaged, rather than disadvantaged. It is an integrated solution comprising a plug and play keyboard, two variants of laser ‘mice' and a keyboard/laptop computer stand. No styling, just purposeful design. The needs of the user guided the form and function. There is beauty in honesty." - Peter Haythornthwaite
  • Materials: Demi lune console table, designer unknown. Flying Table (depicted in framed photograph) by Cheshire Architects. "The Flying Table presented here is a leitmotif in this operation. Almost four meters long, but with neither support nor thickness, it cannot be digested as a sensible object. In the nonsense of its form it defeats the associative shorthand of our process of looking. What remains is the unexpected physicality of our confrontation with an image. Nonsense gives rise to a new sense, a sensitivity to the taut relationship between image and object." - Nat Cheshire
  • Materials: Axe, Kellyaxe & Tool. Taper seat by Matthew von Sturmer. "As someone coming to engineering from a self taught direction my renewed interest and appreciation in the enormity of the taper and other engineering basics came about for me, ironically, through the use of digital devices and software in my design studio. My Taper chair has been developed recently for Street Furniture New Zealand. Without the critical 1% of taper we would never free the tool from the mould and produce this cast iron device for resting. Nor would we have the humble axe." - Matthew von Sturmer

Quotidian: finding inspiration in everyday design

15 May 2010 - 26 June 2010

Makers:
Alt Group, Nat Cheshire, Formway Design, Adrian Hailwood, Peter Haythornthwaite, Guy Hohmann, Jamie McLellan, Jonty Valentine, Katy Wallace, Cybele Wiren, Matthew von Sturmer

Curator:
Matt Blomeley

This exhibition posits that the quotidian (def: everyday, commonplace) is a useful lens for understanding aspects of contemporary design practice ranging from fashion, furniture, graphic, product to spatial design. Specifically it demonstrates how the quotidian is a resource for contemporary designers and the participating designers in particular; Alt Group, Nat Cheshire, Formway Design, Adrian Hailwood, Peter Haythornthwaite, Guy Hohmann, Jamie McLellan, Jonty Valentine, Matthew von Sturmer, Katy Wallace, and Cybèle Wiren.
These nine individuals and two design firms have each chosen and written about an everyday object not conceived by them. In writing about this object - a source of design inspiration in relation to an object of their own design - fascinating relationships and stories have emerged. The result is a collection of discussions that provides a designers eye view into our intriguing relationships with everyday objects.

The eleven quotidian objects chosen by the exhibitors evidence a wide range of influences upon the objects produced by these designers. The qualities identified as influences - significant issues for these designers and for design in general - include categorical references, aesthetics, mechanical principles, universal design, balance, precision, systems, economy, ecology, sensuality, purposefulness, freedom, beauty, history, skill, craft, and the decorative arts.

Some of the pairings show very direct relationships while others are more conceptual. Importantly, these quotidian objects highlight the unique abilities of design and designers to make sense of the world around us. Donald A. Norman has written, "the human mind is exquisitely tailored to make sense of the world ... well-designed objects are easy to interpret and understand." The exhibitors in Quotidian discuss how they make sense of the everyday within the scope of their own design practices.

Having considered the purpose of everyday objects and no doubt having marvelled and cursed at the simplicity, elegance and limitations of that which already exists, the exhibitors featuring in Quotidian are well positioned to tell us about the influence of functional objects within contemporary design. These discussions serve to highlight for the non-designer and designer alike, the intelligence and amount of consideration that go into design practice.

A 32 page print publication is available for purchase at Objectspace or as a free download.

Image: Leaning shelf (2006) by Katy Wallace.