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A word with the judge: Jon Goulder on Australian furniture design

May 07, 2015

Entries for the first ever Australian Furniture Design Award are closing in a matter of weeks (on 22 May 2015). When those entries close, it will be time for the judging to kick in and designer Jon Goulder is going to be busy!

“As a judge I’m looking for original work – the more flamboyant and original the better for me. A good point to make is that the winning piece isn’t what goes into production, the winning piece is collected by the Art Gallery of South Australia and the winning designer comes to the Jam Factory in Adelaide to [develop and] design a collection.”

That’s quite an exciting opportunity! 

Jon, who has been a passionate supporter of the AFDA right from its inception, is excited about the long-term benefits of this award. It will be recognition, exposure and – importantly – workthat will be ongoing for the winner. An award offering that “fills a gap in the industry,” says Jon.

A long-time Perth resident, Jon recently made the move to Adelaide where he is now Creative Director of the Jam Factory’s Furniture Design Studio. Whether he’s living in SA or WA, Jon is strongly influenced by his surroundings. “They’re generally what inspires the work that comes out,” he says.

Being in Adelaide and closer to the east coast of Australia he’s finding himself producing more and more designs under licence – expect a number of new launches this year!  

Jon’s Spool Stools and Therry Easy Chair, designed for Dessein in 2012 and 2014 respectively, are both as practical as they are beautiful. His designs always serve a strong purpose, while also expressing a certain aesthetic freedom. This has become Jon’s “flavour”, as he calls it.

“With the Therry,” Jon points out, “I wanted to land a chair in the local market at a certain price point, while maintaining a degree of originality with manufacturability.” True to word, the Therry stands toe-to-toe with its European counterparts – in both design quality and pricing.

Pausing a moment on the topic of aesthetic freedom, Jon hints at a sculptural project he’s currently working on. Something that will be launched in Melbourne very soon. “My reaction… to the saturation of design in media is to make sculpture,” he says. "It gives me the same excitement as furniture did when I first started out. It’s nice to do something that’s not necessarily functional.”

Read more about Jon here, or shop the Spool Stool and Therry Easy Chair via Dessein's Online Shop.