1. Archaeology

An Emerging Melbourne Artist on Still Lifes, Surrealism, and More

One look at Sean Meilak’s Instagram, and you’ll see why the Melbourne artist has suddenly become our new talent to watch Down Under. Meilak has a way of incorporating and transfiguring familiar visual references and echoes — from antiquity to Surrealism to the Memphis group — into works that quietly hint at something less obvious or known.
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These Classical-Meets-Contemporary Ceramics Are a Major Discovery

It's not every day that we make a discovery on the level of Nicolette Johnson, when some random Instagram rabbit hole leads us to a trove so vast we can hardly believe no one had tipped us off to it sooner. But that's exactly what happened last month, when we stumbled onto an image of Johnson's vases and found ourselves practically hyperventilating — not just over the works themselves, but the fact that the young Brisbane-based talent only started working with ceramics at all less than two years ago.
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A Down Under Furniture Brand Meets an American Favorite in Soho

Opening today, one of our favorite design duos, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, will be launching a concept shop in SoHo for the month of May, showcasing the new Australian design brand SP01. Over/Under, as the project is called, presents a leap for L&G beyond objects like lighting, furniture, and jewelry, and into a holistic interiors experience. SP01, making its U.S. debut, looked to L&G for a concept beyond the traditional showroom, a place where guests could relax.
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Emerging Dutch designers Truly Truly

This Dutch-Based Studio Was the Best Thing We Saw at Salone Satellite

The Dutch-based studio Truly Truly finds a comfortable niche oscillating between product design and experience, creating artful and engaging moments for the viewer that fall between familiarity and curiosity. Their latest work, presented at last week’s Salone Satellite, features projects that combine technical ingenuity with new aesthetics — their morphing Touch glass lights are cast using a dynamic mold that allows for more expressive surface qualities, while the Wove chair plays on the graphic interplay of two differently colored bent-wire frames. And of course we were instantly magnetized by the Daze table – folded, aluminum volumes with subtle corner slits, which allow flashes of hazy, powder-coated color to burst through.
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Australia Meets Asia in Daniel Emma’s Newest Collection

With the launch of their new Bling Bling Dynasty collection today, by way of an exhibition at Hugo Mitchell Gallery in Adelaide, the Australian design duo Daniel Emma have fully embraced their Asian influences for the first time, saying that it's the first of many projects in which they hope to explore their "time spent in between cultures."
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Melbourne Furniture Designers Pop & Scott

Shortly after meeting one another, Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson realized they had a shared habit of dreaming up possibilities for running their own businesses. Their initial ideas for a joint venture ranged from a hip retro bike shop to a hangover café. What they finally ended up launching, however, was more of an accident: A furniture line called Pop & Scott, which grew organically from the couple’s attempts to create pieces for their own home that they wanted, but couldn’t find in stores, which it turned out other people wanted, too.
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Melbourne Creative Agency Wildhen Design

We've said it before — Australia often feels like a strange parallel universe to us. We know it's bursting with amazing design talent, but it all feels so far away, and it's not easy for us to assess what the new hot restaurant or hotel or creative agency may be at any given time. For those of us who pride ourselves on being up on the cultural landscape of the Western hemisphere, it's a weird feeling, but in a way, it's also a nice one: We didn't have to think too hard when the Melbourne firm Wildhen sent us their portfolio recently, we just poked through it and objectively liked what we saw, from packaging for a boutique pharmacy to still life shoots for an online nursery.
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Louise Zhang, Artist

Sydney-based artist Louise Zhang's work is concerned not with the familiar straight lines of geometry, but with the lack of any distinct form. More simply, she works with blobs. Her attraction to the formless began with a childhood fascination with slime and goo. Building off the allure of all-things-goopy, her paintings and sculptures — made from materials ranging from acrylic, oil, enamel, resin, expanding polyurethane, gap filler, and silicone — explore the infinite transformations a shapeless form can possess. Add to this an intense candy-coated color palette and you've got a body of work that's both unquestionably attractive and charmingly grotesque.
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Peter D. Cole, Sculptor

Let's be honest for a second: The internet is wonderful. It's a fantastic platform for research, and it enables creatives all over the globe to gather inspiration. It allows for artists and designers to see what exists, what's missing, and to create accordingly. It's hard to imagine a world without it. But what if you were a young artist trying to make it in 1960s Australia? Where did one find insight and inspiration? If you were artist Peter D. Cole, you probably looked to your art-history textbooks and the latest imported magazines from that hotbed of modernism, New York. Perusing his work, you begin to see patterns, and his influences become ever more apparent. There's the very basic color palette of fire-engine reds, cool sky blues, and bright sun yellows, reminiscent of a Mondrian palette. There's the tilted shapes, which could be a nod to the fathers of abstraction, the Russian Suprematists. Further still, you begin to see a pattern of grids and cubes, an obvious allusion to Sol LeWitt, one of the most famous artists practicing when Cole graduated in 1968. Mobiles similar to Calder's, colorful forms attached by thin black lines reminiscent of Miró — we could go on but we'll stop ourselves there. It's through this weird, sometimes obvious amalgamation of influences that Cole is able to create original, inspired work that's evocative yet far enough removed to be his own style.
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Melbourne Visual Artist Esther Stewart

Even though we often talk about how globalization and the internet have vastly accelerated the velocity of cool, there sometimes seems to be a lag when it comes to scouting talents from Down Under. Case in point: Are we the last to know about Melbourne-based Esther Stewart's incredible geometric paintings and angular sculptures? (And, aside, do Aussies pooh-pooh the use of Down Under the way San Franciscans abhor the term San Fran?) We found Stewart's work on the Instagram of Aussie expat Maryanne Moodie, and it's pretty much everything we're interested in right now — intersecting planes, overlapping geometrics, and the use of color and texture to create an illusion of depth. Stewart has shown a handful of times with Australian galleries, but she also recently graduated with a Master's degree in Cultural and Arts Management, which makes us hopeful she'll figure out pretty fast how to get her work shown a little closer to our home turf.
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Marble Basics from Melbourne

Sibling camaraderie is nothing new in the design world. We've been familiar with brother teams like the Campanas, the Bouroullecs, and the Peets for years, as well as sister power duos like the women behind Building Block, Block Shop Textiles, and Twin Within. Now you can add to that list Bonnie and Bliss Adams, the Melbourne, Australia–based sisters behind the new label Marble Basics. The sisters have created a new collection of tabletop accessories, rendering all of your most essential housewares in that eternally chic material (and some not-so-essentials as well, though who doesn't love a decorative obelisk?). Each object somehow conveys the luxuriousness and durability that stone entails while maintaining an approachable price point. The products are so simple in form and function, it's hard to imagine a better name for the company—Marble Basics.
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