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    Australian designers on show at design-oriented shopping centre

    Deborah Singerman

    Home and office, light and adaptable, using timber, glass, metals and fabric – these are the overall impressions of the design pieces at the Workshopped 16 exhibition at Supa Centa in Sydney’s Moore Park.

    The works are from a mixture of students, emerging designers and more established salon designers. They span neat stools, variegated chairs, recliners with summery looping canvas, coffee tables, side-tables and recycled glass-topped tables.

    There is space-saving storage, lights attached to walls, slatted cabinets, petal-shaped clocks, smooth soft gold dumbbells, leather skipping ropes, coin organisers, tokens to show carbon offsets, shapely pendants and flat-packed lampshades.

    ORIGINS OF WORKSHOPPED

    “Workshopped started in 2001, as a small exhibition of Australian product and furniture design,” says spokesperson Raymond Scott. There was the work of five designers and 200 people attended. The company had not planned to do any more exhibitions but designers kept asking if they could be part of the next one, Scott remembers.

    “Our aim was to put Australian design in front of as many people as possible. We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Supa Centa for the past four years. It’s enormous exposure for the 50 exhibiting designers, and provides a point of focus for the centre and creates a strong connection with Australian design.”

    About ten years ago, designer Danny Cheung, asked them to help commercialise his 1984 Fishbowl (which went on to feature as part of the backdrop to the ABC’s New Inventors). From that first experience developing a prototype, manufacturing, distribution and retail, Workshopped has since helped in the development and manufacture of a number of products.

    Six years ago it opened a “very small design store in Surry Hills”, which they have now outgrown and just opened a showroom in Rosebery.  

    Their evolution, “gradual rather than spectacular”, Scott says, has “allowed us to develop long-term relationships with a large number of Australian and New Zealand designers and understand the potential market for Australian design.”

    GETTING MORE AUSTRALIAN DESIGN SPECIFIED

    “We’re committed to developing relationships with the interiors and architecture industries with the clear objective of having more Australian design specified for both residential and commercial projects. The annual exhibition always unearths new design talent. And we’re discovering more designers who’s work we intend to represent and retail.

    “Our original goal is unchanged - we’re here to nurture Australian design excellence. That means helping to bring about successful commercial relationships between designers, industry and the marketplace, both locally and internationally. There is a real sense of community and support and it’s great to watch the careers of Australian designers evolve. There’s definitely a Workshopped design alumni.”

    Workshopped 16 is on until August 21. 

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