The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney recently launched ‘Hybrid: Objects for Future Homes’, an exhibition of nine commissioned works created in collaboration with Creative Director Stephen Todd, on view until 28 February 2021. The exhibition showcases dynamic insight to the future of furniture and object design by nine design-based studios who were paired with researchers and practitioners from across a range of alternative industries including visual art, science and engineering.
Each of the nine collaborative groups responded to a brief directing design focus to the contemporary urban home environment in the year 2030 with consideration for the fast-evolving changes occurring across the global landscape, and other urgent issues of our times including the Covid-19 pandemic and the looming threats of climate change.
Todd says the brief proposed “Designers would create furniture and objects for future homes. The future would be set at 2030. 2030 because we had demographic data and new in data on climate change for that period. It’s a tipping point for climate change, and the population of Sydney was to reach around six million, and 1.3 million new homes would be needed. So, the home was a really important focus.”
Project pairings bring the work of acclaimed designer Trent Jansen and Nyikina man and saddler Johnny Nargoodah into the spotlight with their creation of Martuwarra Jiliny Walyarra (Like River Sand), a chaise longue and side table inspired by the Fitzroy River in Western Australia’s Kimberley region made using CNC-carved timber hand-finished in leather oil.
Industrial and fine furniture designer Adam Goodrum joined Ella Williams and Tran Dang of the UTS Advanced Fabrication Lab to create Tide, a magnificent 3-D printed dining table made using recycled plastics from the ocean, imbued with golden light and the aesthetics of cut crystal glass.
Product and furniture designer Henry Wilson and Melbourne-based artist Stanislava Pinchuk worked together to build the Mostra Fountain. A water feature designed with the needs of small creatures like insects, birds, bees, reptiles and other native and domestic animals in mind. Fabricated using brass and reclaimed sandstone from George Street, Sydney by Kris Cadogan.
Industrial designer Charles Wilson and Gaurav Giri & Bala Mulloth of Hava Inc bring sleek design to the household air purifier. “I want to find a way to incorporate highly technical objects into the home, as furniture and lighting that are a pleasure to use as well as to look at, or just to be in a space,” notes Wilson.
Inspired by issues of human consumption, and exploring the concept of death and objects left behind by the deceased, Design Duo GibsonKarlo (Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis), collaborated with Australian Research Council Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla to produce End Cycle, Memorial, a tombstone and urn incorporating belongings from the departed.
Karlovasitis explains, “Consumption obviously is a big topic at the moment. Once you, or someone you know passes-away what can you do with the resources that you have accumulated over time? Rather than throw them away, rather than burdening them on to your family to decide what to do with it. Which is also a difficult decision. You can then use the clothing or other items to make monuments and hopefully one day contribute to the building materials of the future city.”
Further explorations include those made by Amsterdam-based designers Rive Roshan in collaboration with Emmaline Cox, Design Director of Axolotl, Sydney, who have responded to the global pandemic, natural disasters and lockdown with Time to Reflect, Lighting. Three pendulum lights suspended over different coloured etched glass parabolic bowls create an air of ambience and visualise planetary motion.
Industrial and furniture designer Tom Fereday and Professor of Spatial Theory, Dr Thea Brejzek at UTS collaborated on SANA (‘to live’ in Korea’), an arrangement of small beautifully formed glass home décor objects. “The core concept centred on the materiality and weight of cast quartz crystal, allowing us to make solid objects with a small footprint. The material imbues the pieces with a sense of gravitas with the aim to create a sense of calm within the home,” notes Fereday.
Sydney industrial designer Andrew Simpson and mechanical engineer Professor Tracie Barber worked together on Mantle, Cabinet, a contemporary wall-mounted home shrine made of carbon fibre, cedar, dacron and marble, a meditative place in the home to refocus and de-stress.
Designer Elliat Rich with neuroscientist Professor Joel Pearson and Canberra Glassworks redefine the domestic mirror. Otherescope, Mirror “explores reflectivity and how bending the image of someone with a reflective surface might change the way they see themselves while they know it’s still them, almost like an augmented reality, but in the physical instance,” says Pearson.
The extraordinary design work in ‘Hybrid: Objects for Future Homes’ inspires us to think more deeply about how and what we create and the lasting impact it will have on the world we live in now and what we leave behind in the future.
Visit the Powerhouse Museum here for more information about ‘Hybrid: Objects for the future homes’, opening hours, location, ticketing and for more on the What’s On exhibition calendar.