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DESIGN Canberra: contemporary design that honours history

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They say never meet your heroes, but Chelsea Lemon is doing that and then some.

Chelsea has been chosen as this year’s Designer-in-Residence for the DESIGN Canberra Festival, in part due to the symmetry between her work and the work of architect Enrico Taglietti, whom the festival is honouring this year.

Taglietti’s designs draws on Italian and post-war Japanese architecture and can be found dotted around Canberra in iconic buildings such as the Dickson Library, Polish White Eagle Club and Giralang Primary School. Chelsea graduated from the Australian National University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons), majoring in Furniture Design. Working primarily in wood, Chelsea’s work incorporates plant and nature themes within the decorative woodworking technique of parquetry.

Credit: Chelsea Lemon. Taglietti Tray 1, Blackbutt and Dyed Veneers. Courtesy of the artist.

The theme of this year’s festival is geometry, making Chelsea’s dynamic designs the perfect choice to honour Taglietti’s legacy. His work using angular shapes, cantilevered planes and concrete has helped to shape the look of Canberra. Ahead of the festival, Chelsea created a series of works inspired by Taglietti, which she hopes will strike the right note with the architect himself.

“Usually I’m inspired by plants, but DESIGN Canberra allowed me to take a new approach to my work,” Chelsea says of drawing on iconic Canberra architecture including the Shine Dome, Australian War Memorial, Melbourne Building, National Carillion and Parliament House.

“Hopefully when Enrico sees them, he’ll like them,” she says. “It was one of those projects where you want make sure it’s a good piece because [Taglietti] is so renowned and respected.”

Chelsea’s work will also be featured at DESIGN Canberra’s Opening Party and Auction, which will celebrate the best of local design, as well as kicking off the month-long festival with a bang, on Saturday 10 November. Hosted within Canberra Centre’s Monaro Mall, the party will include music, food, local wines, brews and spirits.

Chelsea Lemon. Geometric Canberra. Photo: Adam McGrath.

The centerpiece will be a showcase of limited edition and one-off pieces from Canberra designers, which will be displayed underneath an experimental lighting installation created by from Matt Adey of House of Vnholy (Dark Mofo). But these pieces aren’t just for show – you have the chance to take them home, as all works are up for auction.

Hoshi Chair (Limited Edition DENFAIR), Tom Skeehan. American hardwood, leather, fabric. Photo: Anisa Sabet.

The auction is open now and will run until 9.30 pm on Saturday 10 November, with successful bidders snaring the chance to take home their handcrafted piece on the night. Designs to be auctioned include an American hardwood and leather chair by Tom Skeehan, geometric linen napkins from Megan Hinton and Alison Jackson sterling silver earrings.

Splice Earrings, Alison Jackson. Sterling silver. Photo: Anisa Sabet.

Chelsea’s auction piece is a side table topped with her signature floral-inspired parquetry.

“The top is a pattern based on a wall panel I made a couple of years back, based on bottlebrush. Basically, what I would do is take the plant, sketch it out and transform it into a more geometric drawing. Then I’d make a pattern from it, cut out all the shapes individually, put them onto a veneer, cut those shapes out, glue them all together, and that formed the tabletop.”

Callistemon Low Table, Chelsea Lemon. Handcrafted parquetry with Australian timbers. Photo: Anisa Sabet.

“I spent about a solid week making it. The top of the table of is the longest component because you have to fit every piece to match perfectly.”

If you’re interested in learning woodworking from one of Canberra’s most exciting artists, Chelsea will be leading a parquetry workshop as part of DESIGN Canberra on Saturday 10 November for people interested in learning the technique. Find more information here.

Just keen to snag yourself a gorgeous piece of design? The DESIGN Canberra auction is now live, click here to view the items.

the essentials

What: DESIGN Canberra Opening Party + Auction
When: Saturday 10 November from 8 pm
Where: Monaro Mall, Canberra Centre
Cost: $20 (or $30 at the door)
Tickets and more information:

HerCanberra is a proud sponsor of DESIGN Canberra 2018

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