Dessein Furniture

The recent Parallels conference at the National Gallery of Victoria was an exciting exploration into craft, design and contemporary making. Dessein was lucky enough to attend the two-day conference which attracted speakers from around the world and Australia.

Some of our all-time design luminaries were in attendance, including Gijs Bakker of Droog, as well as Dessein’s very own design collaborator, Jon Goulder. 

In his short talk on 17 September, Jon addressed the topic of “Adaptable species are the most resilient”, sharing his experiences and practice, and how these informs the model he’s developing for the Furniture Studio at the Jam Factory Adelaide, for which he is creative director.

A fourth-generation furniture marker, Jon says of his early study influences: “We were taught to never repeat what we had already accomplished … that we should be scared of what we’re attempting to make, and we should be designing the next project when we’re halfway through the [current] project.”

Heading up a diverse practice that includes project management, commissions, and industry engagement through organisations such as FORM in Perth and now the Jam Factory in Adelaide, Jon says that surviving in Australia demands that practitioners and makers are adaptable, diverse and, most importantly, resilient.

In this new-look era, Jon is navigating the Jam Factory’s Furniture Studio into new waters. “I’m using my experiences to develop a new model for the furniture studio. Traditionally the studio was a wood working craft studio, I’m making it a design studio…”

The Studio’s associates work on external commissions, studio-produced collections, and receive on-the-ground training to respond and tackle real world demands with real deadlines.

Jon also had some valuable advice for contemporary craft practitioners and designers. “Emerging craftspeople need to collectively think and act more professionally,” he said. “To seek new marketplaces and broaden their understanding of possibilities and maybe not walk the well-worn path of their predecessors, their mentors or their teachers. 

“I think as a craft practitioner in Australia, the world is your oyster; I think as a craft practitioner, you need to be one step ahead of the technology being used in industry today.

“Designers need craft and skilled industry, and craft needs designers. We should … try different things; change and adapt to our environment, marketplace and materials. And above all, set out to live a life less ordinary.”

Explore Jon’s collection of Australian design furniture for Dessein, click here.

Hear Jon's advice to emerging designers in the Australian Furniture Design Award competition, click here.