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Canberra craft is front and centre in Melbourne

Caren Florance

Four of Canberra’s most promising young designers are heading to Melbourne to push their ideas – and dreams – to a whole new level.

With 160 exhibitors over 12,000sqm, Denfair is a premier event on Australia’s contemporary design calendar. The event is highly curated, with designers, architects, and interior stylists from all over the world presenting exhibits, speaker sessions, and awards.

Front/Centre is a Denfair initiative that puts the cream of Australia’s emerging designers firmly in the gaze of all this expertise. Unlike smaller market or gallery opportunities, gaining attention at Denfair can result in some big industry contracts.

Candidates are submitted by their organisations, and Craft ACT has successfully pitched four of the ACT’s best designer-makers: Christina Bricknell, Jun Rung, René Linssen and Richilde Flavell. Craft ACT’s Design Canberra Project Manager Kate Nixon says it’s an exciting opportunity for these makers to connect with more established brands.

Christina Bricknell with the Swoll seats.

Christina Bricknell is a furniture designer who wants to push the limits of materials to create playful pieces that bring a light-hearted energy into a space. She’s taking SWOLL, a range of sculptural ottomans in cool colours and geometric textures.

Jun Rung is demonstrating his light, minimalist furniture style with the Klik Desk and chair. He’s a graduate of the Sturt School for Wood and believes in making handcrafted work that is both unique and timeless. Every angle and join of his furniture is thoughtfully constructed, with striking combinations of wood.

Jun Rung with a Tasmanian blackwood and hoop pine floor mirror.

René Linssen is an industrial designer who loves the challenges of finding a way to improve people’s lives with products that can be beautiful as well as useful. His Luna Wall Hook design is quirky and elegant: organic ovals of aluminium or wood in different sizes that double as wall art when not holding your coat.

René Linssen and his Luna Wall Hooks.

Richilde Flavell is a local favourite with her production line Girl Nomad Ceramics. Her homewares are hand-formed and glazed, offering intimate surface details in a collection of whites, greys and toasty auburns.

For Denfair, she’s taking something new: a collaboration with furniture-maker Rolf Barfoed to produce side tables. The Reuleaux Dawn and Dusk tables have roughly triangular ceramic tops mounted on bowed wooden legs, in classic Girl Nomad shades; they have a playful air, as if about to walk across the room.

Richilde Flavell with her Reuleaux Dusk table.

Denfair is also happening in Sydney for the first time in August, and there are hopes that Front /Centre will travel there too, which can only be a good thing for these rising stars of craft and design.

Richilde Flavell & Rolf Barford, Reuleaux Dawn and Dusk tables.

Feature image: Jun Rung, Klik desk

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Caren Florance

Caren loves living in Canberra. She is a recent PhD graduate, working la vida gig economy. Some days she’s an early career academic, other days she is connecting to the arts community via her work at Craft ACT and the ANU School of Art + Design… and then there’s the best days, when she’s immersed in her creative practice, centred on handset letterpress and artist books. More about the Author