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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?
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Tessy King, ceramicist

Australian ceramicist Tessy King may only just be finishing her degree in ceramics at RMIT in Brunswick, but that doesn’t mean she’s a novice. Originally from a small town in Northern New South Wales, King studied nursing and naturopathy at a small university after high school and credits her interest in the medium back to those days as a budding scientist. “I often refer back to some of that knowledge when contemplating my work,” she says. “Ceramics involves so much chemistry.”
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Optical Delusion by Page Thirty Three

We are completely intrigued by Australia. It almost feels like a parallel universe sometimes — it's on the totally opposite side of the world from us, and it has its own thriving design scene that we're constantly being reminded we know precious little about. That's how we felt a few weeks ago when the Sydney-based creative studio Page Thirty Three contacted us out of the blue to introduce us to their latest collection, Optical Delusion, which consists of shelves, lamps, chairs, and tables inspired by puzzles, simple mechanics, and neolithic forms. Now we're introducing it to you. Click through to see images from Page Thirty Three's new collection, much of which is hand-crafted in their own workshop.
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A Memphis-Inspired Wall Mural Pops Up in Melbourne

We were pretty beside ourselves last week when the news floated our way that not only was the terrific Melbourne art and design shop Third Drawer Down opening a second location but that its exterior was going to be hand-painted by Camille Walala, the French-born, London–based graphic designer and illustrator whose work we've been obsessing over for the last year and a half.
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Jonathan Zawada

We don't typically use the phrase "so good I wanna puke" to describe our latest product finds. For one, we fear this is not the sort of syntax that would be looked upon too favorably by former journalism professors. For two, there isn't much that totally knocks us off our feet these days. But that was exactly my reaction when I saw these flat-pack marble tables by Australian designer Jonathan Zawada, first on I'm Revolting and then on Arkitip. Called Affordances #1 (Y.O.R.I. — "You Only Reincarnate Indefinitely"), the tables are made from pieces of marble, granite, and synthetic stone, require no fixtures to assemble, and are infinitely recombinable. They also capitalize on one of our favorite new trends — terrazzo — without seeming at all trendy, and represent one of the first forays into design for someone known more as an art director and artist. Consider us officially obsessed.
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Korban/Flaubert’s Hunter Maquettes

Sydney's Korban/Flaubert make large-scale sculptures and design objects out of flowing, bending, beautifully contorted metal — objects that show off both their own technical capabilities and those of their Sydney metalworking studio. But before they scale up, they often start small, with miniature models that function like a sketchbook come to life, showing off their ideas to potential clients. Their latest series of maquettes — each of which is only a few feet wide — features "a single folded, crushed line compressed into an agitated solid," they write. "An artifact in Corten steel."
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Axel Peemöller, the Mediterranean Sea

On gloomy New York days like today, we begin to think that Axel Peemöller might be on to something. The German-born graphic designer studied in Düsseldorf, moved to California, and eventually settled in Melbourne, but a few years ago he gave it all up for a studio at sea. Aboard a 40-foot-long 1974 Trintella — which he purchased off eBay from a Barcelona woman for a song — Peemöller lives with his girlfriend and works remotely for clients and studios, docking when he needs to visit a colleague or use power to light a photo, and flying clients in to whichever port he’s landed. And while it’s not to say that life at sea is never gloomy, Peemöller finds that a fluid perch makes for a clearer head: “To do creative work, you need to have a balance between life and work and fun,” he says. “Here I can go diving, watch dolphins, catch octopus: I guess the not-working days are like holidays for other people, but for me it’s my usual life.”
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Maria-Klara Gonzalez, Barcelona. Text by Jo Walker, photos by Wai Lin Tse. Maria-Klara's Barcelona flat was a "sleeping beauty" when she and her boyfriend Roger first happened upon it three years ago while biking to his parents' house for dinner. "It had a kind of dreamlike atmosphere with different wallpapers in all the rooms," the illustrator and former architect remembers. "It had been empty for years and unfortunately the last inhabitant had been a heavy smoker and the flat was extremely stuffy. So it was a hard decision, but when we tore out all the wallpaper and painted the whole flat, the air changed completely."

Spaces, By Frankie Magazine

When it comes to its namesake subject matter, Spaces magazine doesn’t discriminate: There are live-work lofts in the wilds of Brooklyn, warehouses in Australia turned into artist communes, cafes in Hamburg lined with vintage shoe lasts and gumball machines, and even a section of so-called wall spaces, where entire spreads are devoted to close-ups of textile, teacup, or taxidermy collections. “We wanted an eclectic mix, somewhere between vintage, designy, and handmade,” says Louise Bannister, managing editor of the cult indie lifestyle magazine Frankie, who co-produced Spaces as one of the magazine’s twice-annual special projects. While past editions have included a recipe book or a small photo album filled with 110 snapshots culled from contributors around the world, the editors chose to focus on interiors after the success of Frankie’s only section devoted to them: Homebodies, where they feature casual portraits of the homes of musicians. For Spaces, the team scoured the internet from their homebase in Melbourne looking for creatives of all stripes, pairing large-format images with personal interviews about how they found their space and what they keep in it.
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Right now, Daniel Emma is: “At this very moment we’re eating popcorn.  However generally speaking, we’re preparing for the release of our first production collection D.E (pictured), which will be available to retailers from mid-October. This work is a combination of our Solids and Basics collections, and consists of small desk objects and housewares.”

Daniel Emma, Product Designers

Australian wine capital Adelaide has a population of 1.3 million, putting it on par with Dallas or San Diego. But as native Daniel To sees it, it’s a big city with a small-town mentality — one that nearly consigned him and his wife Emma Aiston to a life designing laundry lines. “We met at the University of South Australia, where our design program was heavily engineering based and suited to what’s required for the city's industry,” explains To. “Adelaide has three main manufacturing companies: one making garden sheds, one light switches, and a third clothes-drying lines.” Rather than learning about mid-century modern, Memphis, or the Bauhaus — all of which would later inform their work as the independent studio Daniel Emma — the pair were taught to perfect their technical-drawing skills and gear up to become cogs in the local wheel. Just as they were starting their final projects in 2006, though, they had a kind of mutual awakening.
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