Being from the antipodes, it’s easy to convince oneself that Australian design is well known throughout the world, and while many of our designers and their designs have received great attention and success abroad, design from Down Under arguably has no national identity, unlike Danish or Italian design for example.
This is of course a blessing in many ways, as our designers are not pigeonholed and individuals are given greater aesthetic freedom. But, when it comes to selling ‘Australian Design’, there’s a need for some collaboration. This is the idea behind Matilda Design.
Founded by Australian expat Jenni Carbins, the company aims to bring Australian design to the attention of the UK, European and Middle Eastern design communities.
Last year saw the inaugural Matilda event at the London Design Festival launch to much acclaim. This year’s event took place at designjunction – a subterranean space in the Clerkenwell Design District – where other brands such as Anglepoise, Benchmark, Cappellini and Fritz Hansen sat alongside emerging brands such as New Zealand furniture and lighting companyResident. However, the Australian contingent was by far the strongest element.
“The designers were positioned alongside 25 significant UK and international brands,” Carbins explains. “There have been myriad media and sales enquiries and it was a great opportunity for market research and feedback on the viabiltiy of products.”
Adam Goodrum, Carousel Table
The Matilda Design program acknowledges the limitations and expenses involved in exporting design from Australia to the rest of the world, supporting brands to produce their products locally (in other countries) where appropriate.
It’s exciting to see Australian design making a real push into the overseas market, with a clear strategy for building an ‘Australian brand’ and with the support of state craft and design organisations in NSW, Queensland and South Australia.
Coco Flip, Coco Pendants
“The response was incredible. Many people said it was not only a highlight of designjunction but also of the Festival,” Carbins says. “Matilda has now moved into a showroom space in Clerkenwell – the heart of the contract furniture market in London – and will continue to represent Australian designers across Europe and the Middle East.”
Charles Trevelyan, Titanic Lamp
Design by Gary Galego
Around 30 established and emerging designers put their designs on show: