The DO WORK exhibition held during Melbourne Design Week brought together emerging designers who challenged the traditional boundaries of furniture, elevating it to the realm of art.
Inspired by Suzanne Delehanty's influential essay "Furniture of Another Order" from the 1977 exhibition Improbable Furniture, 'Trade Between' showcased innovative pieces that pushed the boundaries of functionality and explored the metaphysical nature of furniture. With works by Dalton Stewart, Shalini Rautela, Angus Grant, and Annie Paxton, the exhibition offered a captivating exploration of how furniture can be reimagined to provoke broader questions about our interaction with objects in the built environment.
Suzanne Delehanty's essay emphasized the transformative power of furniture, proposing that it can transcend its utilitarian nature to become an object of experimentation. This notion was embraced by the emerging designers featured in 'Trade Between', who approached furniture design as a medium for exploring the interplay between form, function, and artistic expression.
'Trade Between' featured a diverse range of captivating pieces that challenged conventional notions of furniture design. Dalton Stewart's Basalt Shelf blurred the line between sculpture and shelving unit, showcasing the fusion of organic shapes with functional storage. The Timber Veneer Lounge Chair by Shalini Rautela exemplified the seamless integration of comfort and artistic aesthetics, inviting users to experience furniture as a source of sensory pleasure.
Angus Grant's coffee table with an adjustable candlestick brought an element of interactivity to the exhibition, allowing users to customize their environment and create their desired ambiance. Meanwhile, Annie Paxton's delicate Form IV cabinet, enveloped in mesh, played with transparency and light, inviting viewers to contemplate the ever-changing relationship between the object and its surroundings.
DO WORKS, the driving force behind the exhibition, acts as a platform that collaborates with architects and artists to develop furniture and objects. With a keen interest in the overlap of architecture and the visual arts, DO WORKS reinforces these relationships to produce outcomes that transgress the disciplinary limits of architecture, design, and art. The exhibition at the Nicholas Building, presented as part of the NGV's Melbourne Design Week for 2023, marked the first project of DO WORKS.