Hay peeps, again it has been too long since i have blogged! I’m working on getting back on track with updating more often. I have ventured out and started my own business and as a result i have struggled to find the time and allow myself the time since it’s a big scary adventure i don’t want to screw up, so i need to put my all into it. Things have been going good, so time to get off my ass and blog.
I’m sharing with you some furniture pieces i absolutely love from Brad Wray Workshop. We interviewed Brad and got an insight to what inspires his work and how he got to making furniture.
How would you describe/explain what you do?
Im an architect/designer who loves to make things with my hands. I like using raw materials such as concrete in contrast with more natural and refined materials such as natural timbers and plywood. I have always liked to experiment with contrasts, i think there is always something interesting that comes out of contrast of two or more things quite different.
What is your favourite colour or colour combo?
I have always loved lime green. I think its probably just one of those intuitive things but i have always loved lime green ever since i was really young.
Your favourite cafe and or bar in Melbourne?
Favourite cafe in Melbourne would have to be Captains of Industry. Im also a big fan of Carolina in East Brunswick. It was originally an old italian boot makers studio and now resides as a cafe. My favourite Bar in Melbourne is probably the Alderman in East Brunswick.
What shop/store in Melbourne inspires you?
Again probably Captains of Industry because the interesting overlaps and contrasts associated with the programs in one place – such as cafe, boot-maker, barber, jewellery etc. Little Mule is also similar with the cafe/bike shop overlap.
From purely a materiality point of view – I was also recently very impressed with the fit-out of the Manning Cartel boutique at Chadstone of all places.
Who is your favourite local creative and why?
Favourite local creative/s. Living Melbourne we are fortunate to have many great and talented designers. Melbourne definitely has a great design culture. One of my favourite local architecture studio is Freadman White. Apart from being really great people, they are hugely talent designers and are doing some really good work, particularly across the low-rise multi-residential field. McBride Charles Ryan is a fairly recognised and established ideas-based design practice I have always admired & looked up to. I`m am also a big fan of what Make Architecture are doing at the moment. Aside from architecture, I like the artworks of Sam Octigan, a local Melbourne illustrator and artist who is doing some brilliant almost surrealist based works.
Who inspires you and what you do?
My Grandpa Nick, who passed away a few years ago, amongst other things, used to erect petrol station canopies around australia in the late 60`s and early 70`s. After he retired he had an old recycled canopy, re-erected on his property outside Robinvale Victoria to use as a hay shed. The canopy is an italian design used to withstand snow conditions. It has a triangulated ‘fluted’ modular profile that from a distance looks flat in profile but when you get up close it reveals its almost landscape quality. It is definitely one of the things that inspired me to want to become an architect and want to build things like furniture. I have always had this dream to bring it back to Melbourne and turn it into a house. Its funny as i recently won a design award in the unbuilt category at the 2013 Architeam awards in Melbourne for the ‘Canopy House’ design. My grandma was a proud lady.
Tell us about your background – what path lead you to what you are doing today?
Ever since i can remember ive have liked to be creative. One of my early memories was winning a design & drawing competition in grade 1, which involved two winners overall from prep to grade 6. We had to design the cover of the school magazine.
As a kid, i was always drawing and doodling. Even now I still love to sit there drawing silly sketches of friends at dinner parties and trips away.
Growing up – My mum has always been quite a good artist and real ‘doer’ of things. I remember growing-up being impressed as she used to and still does allot of the handy work around the house – anything from bathroom renovations, tiling walls and floors, painting – you name it.
Early on in high school I wanted to be a graphic designer but was soon attracted to architecture through working part-time for my dad who owns a building company. From high-school i was accepted at RMIT to study architecture.
I hated first year, first semester but then soon fell in love and excelled from that time on, graduating with first class honours. In forth year, I studied abroad at the Academia di Architectura in Mendiriso which is an architecture school close to the boarder of Northern Italy and Switzerland [ about 1 hour from Milan]. This was probably the most inspiring experiences i have ever undertaken. I was lucky to study under one of my archi-heros – Peter Zumthor and met some really terrific people, mentors & definitely gained some great life experience.
After graduating from uni – I worked for a really good but larger scale Melbourne architecture office for 3 and a half years, moved on from there to gain further experience at a smaller office, made it to Associate level and then decided at the end of 2011 it was time to venture off to try something of my own. At the end of 2011 I started Branch Studio Architects with a good friend of mine from university. Our studio is physically linked to a sculpture workshop which encompasses a variety of crafting equipment such as wood & metal working equipment to be able to test and explore through making things. My dad has also recently purchased a C&C routing machine which will definitely be line for some exploration over the coming time.
When was the moment you decided to start your own furniture?
I started to make my own furniture a few years ago when I moved out of home. I house-sat a friends house who had a house full of quite diverse stuff he had collected from all over the place including several really interesting chairs and artworks – I think that really set me off on my path. I have more recently become more active in making as i now have the facilities and equipment in arms reach whenever i want. Its also a good way to get away from the computer, clear my head after work and get me hands dirty.
Where do you source inspiration for what you do?
I definitely gather much of my inspiration for my furniture pieces from architecture. I love the crafted works of italian architect – Carlos Scarpa, particularly in terms of form, materiality and detail. Im also a huge fan of Alvar Aalto – I designed a building in first year uni and one of my tutors told me that it reminded him of an Aalto plan [huge compliment but looking back now it was actually pretty terrible]. He recommended I look at the work of Alvar Aalto… I`ve been hooked ever since.
I think probably one of the buildings that has inspired me the most is the Bages Church by Jorn Utzorn. The exterior of the building, quite simple & rectilinear in form & resembles some kind of grain store with an almost ruralist vernacular but the interior is a total surprise as a curved almost seemingly carved-out sculpted ceiling wraps its way though the space. I think its this contrast and element of discovery that i take as a sense of inspiration.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you started designing furniture?
Be patient in the making process. Making something of a good quality doesn’t happen overnight and also just as important not to get too worried about scratches and dings etc once you get it home or it goes off to a new home.