Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

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Collaboration is anything but new – but it is possible to reinvent the mould when we think about more inspired, thoughtful design partnerships. 

Beyond the idea of ‘two heads are better than one’, and mixing talents to create something scores better, here are three design collaborations that have been created to hit refresh, challenge perceptions, pay homage to design past, and make positive change.


The Pieman Collection by Dessein

Working Together to Honour Origins

Launched in 2012, the mandate for Dessein Furniture has been to deliver original, accessible and Australian design furniture to customers across contract and retail markets. Their latest release, titled The Pieman Collection unites a full cohort of serious, up and coming and admired Australian design talent: Tom Fereday, Simon Ancher, Nathan Day and Marcus Piper.

The new collaborative collection’s namesake is Lake Pieman in Tasmania, where its timber has been sourced. Each log is tagged, and can be traced back to the global positioning of the lake, a man made reservoir created by the damning of the Pieman River on the west coast of Tasmania. “The Pieman Collection is actually a physical engagement with the timber, the quality of the material and the story behind its origin,” says Dessein founder Michele Chow. Amongst the locally manufactured collection is a chair by Fereday, shelves by Ancher and a set of objects from Piper.


IKEA with Tom Dixon and HAY

Working Together to Challenge the Status Quo

Earlier this year, IKEA announced surprising collaborative partnerships with of the moment English design powerhouse Tom Dixon, and Danish design collective HAY. Dixon is set to design a line of furniture and accessories – including a chair, bench, table and desk lamp. The forthcoming Dixon collection will have ‘a classic Scandinavian feel, with light colours, high quality and clean design.’ HAY will redesign the iconic Frakta shopping bags.

While IKEA is typically associated with throw away culture, and short term (as opposed to long-life) products – richer, thoughtful design collaborations present a more collectible, long-lasting offering for consumers, and at a generally more accessible price point.

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Arita 2016

Working Together to Preserving the Past

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Arita, an ancient porcelain practice named after an idyllic village surrounded by mountains and forests in the Saga Prefecture in Japan. It was in Arita that Japan’s first porcelain was made, and while the local industry has waned significantly over the years, Arita remains to be known as a porcelain town. ‘2016’ is a new design collaboration set to commemorate the technique, Arita’s local artisans and the treasure of slow design in a fast paced modern world.  The ‘2016’ collection comprises of 16 collections of contemporary porcelain created by Arita’s local artisans and 16 international designers.

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