Furnishing Australia’s Future

Furnishing Australia's Future


The Seat

James Richardson Furniture has been a leader in international importing for years, but we’re also dedicated to building and supporting home-grown design. Holmesglen Institute of TAFE develops and cultivates exactly this kind of talent, shaping the minds that shape Australia’s furniture. James Richardson has now partnered with Holmesglen and its Furniture Joinery Department to give budding designers an extra leg up.

The partnership began 6 months ago, when we donated $20,000 worth of upholstery to the institute. We were impressed with the skill and potential on show at Holmesglen and saw an opportunity to support the students further. The aim of the partnership is to help fresh, up-and-coming designers strengthen their ideas with a view to getting some pieces into production.

The details are in the early stages of development but the initial concept is for us to choose a product that the TAFE will set an assignment around, and we will be part of the feedback panel. In this way we hope to provide a helpful, industry perspective while getting a look at new and emerging talent. There’s also the possibility of James Richardson offering a prize for the winner.

We’re excited to be building this relationship and can’t wait to see the work it produces.

The other big news at Holmesglen is its participation in a new award blending innovation and conservation. The Minister for Training and Skills’ Student Award for Excellence in Timber Design and Manufacture tasked entrants with creating a piece of furniture from a hoop pine that had been cut down in Government House Victoria’s grounds. As the world becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, this award aimed to promote the role that the forestry and furnishing industries can play in sustainable, timber-related careers.

Holmesglen submitted two teams of six – the Movers and the Shakers – and both were lucky enough to make their designs. The brief was simple: the furniture had to be moveable and functional, and ideally could be used in the home or workplace. This left plenty of room for imagination and, though the teams took very different tracks, both ended with pieces that harmonise form, intention and function.

The Movers were inspired by the origins of the wood itself. They designed communal seating that retains a sense of the felled tree, shaping a thick, ribbed trunk that narrows at the top and angles out in a branch. This arboreal pew incorporates a charging station for personal devices – a beautiful marriage of nature and technology.

student furniture design ? the Lamp
The Lamp

The Shakers’ concept was equally inventive. They crafted an adjustable, free-standing lamp that displays an array of light textures and can expand or contract to control the amount of light emitted. It’s elegant and shapely with a smooth outer curve reminiscent of a flower on the verge of blooming, or a modern-art installation.

Both groups worked hard to complete their pieces in time for the Award Presentation and Design Showcase on September 10, and should be very proud. The furniture is now on display at Government House Victoria.

We congratulate everyone involved in the project.

Events like the Minister’s Student Award are invaluable for giving us a glimpse at the ideas that inspire the designers of tomorrow. James Richardson Furniture views initiatives like these – and its partnership with Holmesglen – as stepping-stones towards bringing this inspiration to fruition. It’s our way of fostering Australian design and driving it to excellence, on both a local and international stage.


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