Following on with my series on Grand Designs Live, one of my favourite displays was this one by student designer, Amie Iacuone from Ari Interiors. I was hit with it as soon as I entered and loved the warmth, rustic feel and the use of natural materials.
Every year Grand Designs Live (Melbourne and Sydney) offers a competition to tertiary students as one of their feature areas called ‘Rooms by Design’. It is only offered to four institutes and one student from each uni who enters the competition is chosen to represent their university/institute at Grand Designs Live, where they make their design concept become a fully functional exhibition space to be on display for the duration of the event (3 days).
On the first day of the exhibition four judges come around and speak with the designers about their concept and space- Kevin McCloud, Peter Maddison, Shaynna Blaze and John Eussen. They then tend to make an executive decision on the winning design and concept, but this year they couldn’t come to a mutual agreement so they had to use the scoring system to establish the winner. The winner of the competition receives a return flight to the UK and two nights accommodation where they attend Grand Designs Live in the UK next year.
Amie’s concept, was called “Merger”. The brief was to design a communal living space that integrated organic technology – the ease of having access to everyday technology such as laptops and iPads – and create an interior that allows people to relax and study/work at the same time. Amie told me that the overall inspiration for her space was the Australian Outback, where she not only incorporated the colours, textures and materials of the outback, but also the activities.
“With the outback being the prime focus I thought of ways to ‘merge’ the outdoors in as well as creating a space for people to relax and unwind at the same time as being able to check their emails or do some research. And where is a better place to unwind than by a campfire?” says Amie. So, with this thought in mind, she generated the idea of designing an indoor fire pit that had foldaway back rests and desks,which could be utilised when needed.
Under the desk, once folded out, was a powerpoint, with access to charge any electronic items, such as a laptop, because we all know their battery life doesn’t last a long time! Situated in the centre of the triangular space was a dining/study table which on one side had bench seating to bring in that communal feel, and on the other side of the table were beautiful leather dining chairs,reflecting the natural materials and tones of the outback. On the right of the space Amie created a little nook where people could really unwind, either on their own or with one other person, and read a book or magazine whilst drinking a cup of tea. This was where she designed the fabulous branch installation that was suspended with horse stirrups to again tie in the activities of the Australian outback. I loved this so much!
This design was not just for looks though, it was a functioning book shelf that caught a lot of viewers attention! “I think I can say this area was my absolute favourite because as soon as you sat down in those leather occasional chairs, there was a sense of home and utter relaxation. The tones from the rust feature wall and the Edison branch lighting added a sense of warmth to the entire space” explains Amie.
As for the lighting, which she created herself, Amie wanted to design lighting that hadn’t really been seen before. You see the Edison pendant lights everywhere these days, but you don’t see them wrapped around a branch that was collected from bushland where the maker lives! Ari says she truly believe it was the branch lighting that completed the space and created an overall feeling of warmth and homeliness, and I have to agree.
Amie is selling the two lights she created! They are $450 each, or $850 for both lights. If you are interested in purchasing them please email Amie via her website on the contact page here
Do you love these lights and this space as much as I do and does it inspire you to come up with your own design using branches? You can also read my wrap up of Grand Designs Live here