Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 62 INSITE SUMMER 2010
“The idea is about creating
product in a large volume, but
with greater sustainability. We
were thinking about what it is
that the world is looking for... ”
ABOVE Hext table with Bolet lamp and
Plantation chairs, from the Derlot range.
LEFT Table from the Wishbone by Derlot
for Planex range.
and distributed through Australia and New Zealand and Japan.
We really like working on things that keep us ticking. It is about
constantly bringing experiences from different fields into a new one.”
His studio has also been developing giftware concepts for global
corporation Nestle. “The model we used... was a little bit based on
the model for an African project that I was involved in [‘In Africa’] –
working with a community or a fair-trade organisation and bringing
design thinking into a craft environment,” he says.
“The idea is about creating product in a large volume, but with
greater sustainability. We were thinking about what it is the world
is looking for – adding some functionality to existing products. It
was amazing because we visited all the cocoa plantations in Ecuador
and did a lot of research and development at the chocolate factory in
Switzerland,” he says. “And, yes, we ate a lot of chocolate!”
Add to this the Haus project he recently created for the Unlimited:
Designing for the Asia Pacific event in Brisbane – a set of ‘Three Little
Pigs’ houses that use different materials to act as seat and shelter
components – and his 2008 design of boutique Brisbane designer
property Limes Hotel (Australia’s only Design Hotel), and you start
to get the picture. So, what more can a designer who is continually
reinventing himself and his work hope to achieve?
“I guess one of the challenges that I find here in Australia is that
we have a lot of good companies, great corporations, and they are
still not using design for their benefit,” he says.
Making mention of the collaboration between influential
industrial designer Marc Newson and airline giant Qantas, Alex
points out the huge opportunity that exists for creating new
environmental solutions and cost efficiencies. “The first thing Marc
Newson did for Qantas was a set of cutlery, and then they went, ‘oh
wow, this is working, OK, let’s do a seat now’. And then it was a
skybed, and then the whole interior for the A380,” he says. “And now
they just don’t think about it anymore. I really don’t understand why
other companies are not doing the same.”
“If there’s one thing I’d tell young designers, it would be to be
experimental. Don’t be afraid that you graduated as an interior
designer, and think that’s what you’re going to do for the rest of your
life,” he says. “Now more than ever, you have fashion designers who
are designing furniture, you have designers designing buildings – all
of these things are morphing together and it’s really showing that it’s
the creative thinking that is stronger that your official title.”
“We really need to start applying design thinking and creative
thinking to everything in Australia, if we’re going to maintain the
lifestyle we’re accustomed to,” Alex says. “We can’t keep digging
holes in the ground forever – places like Dubai have been preparing
for the future for 30 years. They know that oil is going to run out, so
they have been wondering ‘what are we going to do next?’” he says.
“Imagine in 20 years’ time turning Kalgoorlie into an amazing
oasis resort,” he says. “There could be an underground city put into
this hole they have dug up!” he laughs. But something suggests he
might actually be considering it already. I Visit derlot.com, available
in Perth via Design Farm (08) 9322 2200. We hear Alex may come to Perth as
a Midland Atelier artist-in-residence (see p106 for more on this program).
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