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Janine Benyus on Biomimicry

In October 2012 we published issue 63 of Object magazine as an iPad app or browser-friendly desktop version. For this issue, which continues to win awards from around the world, we chose to focus a major part of the editorial on bioinspiration or biomimicry. This field of design is fast becoming one of the most exciting to operate within, an consistently devises some of the most intriguing and innovative solutions to problems we might be having, as well as simply taking the beauty of nature to inform visual design around us. You need look no further than the architecture of Chris Bosse, the industrial design of Tim Finnigan or the jewellery design of Sheridan Kennedy to get a sense of the scope and potential of this discipline (all explored within issue 63.)

As part of issue 63 an essay was commissioned from Lisa Cahill to give a broad look at what bioinspiration and biomimicry is all about on a global scale—where it is moving and what sort of areas it might be touching. In this essay, Lisa referenced Janine Benyus, a writer who in fact coined the term ‘biomimicry’ back in 1997. Her organisation Biomimicry 3.8 offers business consulting, professional training and education on how we can learn from nature.

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Object magazine gets international awards attention!

Issue 63, available now for free as an iPad app download or for viewing on your browser, is the fourth digital edition of Object magazine, first published in print form over twenty years ago. After three previous apps, experimenting with digital publishing and how we can make the magazine experience more fun and engaging, issue 63 brought together all that we have learnt so far, funnelling them into a beautiful interactive experience.

And now the world is taking note! Today (February 12, 2013), issue 63 has been selected as the FWA Mobile of the Day, a huge honour both for Object and our Corporate Partners and talented collaborators Canvas Group. The FWA showcases digital projects that ‘use cutting edge technology, together with inspirational ideas, that lead the way for future generations.’ We’re very excited to be included amongst a long list of terrific projects, including apps for the likes of Mercedes, Lexus, MoMA and Disney.

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Object magazine issue 63 nominated for a Pixel Award.

The latest issue of Object magazine, issue 63, has been nominated for a Pixel Award. Run since 2006, the Pixel Awards annually honour ‘compelling apps and sites that have shown excellence in design and development.’ This is the second Pixel Award nomination in the magazine category for Object — Object magazine issue 60 also received a nomination this time last year.

In each of the 24 categories there are five nominees, with two awards being given. Category awards are chosen by a panel of judges, proven innovators in their fields with a demonstrated knack of spotting extraordinary talent with fairness and accuracy.

But there is also a people’s choice award in each category, and everyone can vote once a day! Voting for the people’s choice awards finish on 25 January 2013, so head over to the Pixel Awards website once a day to log your vote.

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Object magazine issue 63 is now available

Ross is Object’s Digital Programs Producer. In addition to managing this here blog and website, he produces Object magazine in digital form and keeps the local Thai restaurant in business.

I took over producing Object magazine a couple of months after the first digital issue, issue 60, was released back in late-February 2011. Since that first issue, focused on International Ceramics, we have looked at Design Thinking/Design Action with issue 61 (the first issue to also appear in a browser-friendly web version, for those without iPads), and Studios with issue 62 earlier this year.

In collaboration with our fabulous friends at Canvas Group we have gradually been exploring ways to present our stories, articles and news with you, our readers, in exciting and engaging ways. Our Studios issue gave you tags attached to each article, allowing you to explore based on the themes you were interested in, or that related to that article, rather than necessarily following our pre-determined, editorial pathways.

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18th Biennale of Sydney

The idea of collaboration — whether between people, disciplines, media or culture — seems to be a dominant theme in the current cultural landscape. It is something we have covered numerous times, and almost became an unofficial theme in issue 62 of Object magazine, so prevalent was it in the practices covered. And it is this idea that underpins the 18th Biennale of Sydney (BoS), open from June 27 to September 16.

Titled all our relations, the latest BoS (the first instalment of which opened in the Sydney Opera House back in 1973) is, for the first time, headed by two Artistic Directors — Catherine de Zegher and Gerard McMaster. The pair, who have previously collaborated at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and The Drawing Center in New York, reference their partnership through a number of artistic combinations, bringing together artists from various corners to work on pieces at once local and global in their gaze.

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Calling Emerging Design ‘Writers.’

Object: Australian Design Centre is looking for emerging design ‘writers’ to become involved with a new, ongoing segment of Object magazine, profiling emerging Australian designers.

Here at Object, we’re not only interested in acknowledging those designers who are established and known — we have a history of also profiling designers who are at the beginning of their career, possibly exploring new and exciting modes of design. We’re also interested in supporting those who support designers — and very often, that support comes from design ‘writers’.

You may notice that ‘writers’ has been surrounded by quotation marks. That’s because ‘content creators’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

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Object magazine 62 — Wood You Wear Review

Linda van Niekerk’s exhibition Wood You Wear? boldly and aptly questions assumptions about functionality and provenance and reflects her curious and audacious process in creating her new jewellery designs.

The small scale of the community in Tasmania and connectedness inherent in this proximity has led to a collegiality among designer makers and a collaborative spirit. In this exhibition van Niekerk capitalises on these exchanges through the design process she employs.

To create these new works there have been ‘partnerships’ with six different designers makers who each knowingly, either at the time of making or event after, have consented to van Niekerk using their completed components or discarded remnants as the major feature of her jewellery. Remarkably she resists temptation to re-design, adapt or re-mould, instead simply honouring the form and subverting the function.

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Object magazine 62 — MAD Open Studios

In a successful attempt to enhance the experience of their visitors, New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design established the Open Studio Program in 2008. A three month in-house residency, the program allows six artists to work in a studio on the sixth floor, providing them with prime public exposure. In addition, museum visitors are given the opportunity to learn about craft and design practice. However, by blurring the line between a private studio and a place for unrestrained public discussion, one begins to question the benefits of this noon-traditional space.

As well as more conventional jewellery and ceramic practices, the current program houses Don Porcella, a pipe-cleaner sculptor whose thoughts on the Open Studio Program provoke the same fascination one gets from looking at his hand-made tools.

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Object magazine 62 — Vert Design

Andrew Simpson, director of Vert Design, sees his role as to create ‘beautiful forms that relate to people in whatever level they’re meant to.’ And for him, those forms can be anything from a chair to a conveyor belt piece — while the latter might generally be regarded as less aesthetic than the former, its beauty is in the realisation of its purpose.

Simpson refers to his practice, currently consisting of seven designers, as a ‘design house’ rather than a studio. He defines a design consultancy as a ‘gun-for-hire’ practice, and design studios as practices that produce their own concepts and take them to market. Vert sits somewhere in between — they work with a lot of clients on various industrial design products, but will also develop their own products and pieces, both functional and purely aesthetic.

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Object magazine 62 — Lola Greeno

In late 2011, Object announced the next two recipients of the Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft honour, which has shifted to being a biennial event, with alternating years seeing an exhibition centred around a particular craft medium.

With Nick Mount taking the 2012 honour, 2014 will see Lola Greeno, an Aboriginal shell worker based in Launceston, open her Living Treasures exhibiton. With a career spanning over thirty years, Greeno is one of the most well-respected shell workers practicing in Australia.

Taking her cues from nature and history, and using the landscape as her studio as much as any dedicated space, Greeno herself was only inspired later in life, when she recognised how important the practice was to her culture and her heritage. Upon this realisation, she set about learning as much as she could from her mother, ensuring not only shell-work but family history remained intact.

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What's on

TOURING EXHIBITION

Resolved: Journeys in Australian Design

Tamworth Regional Gallery, NSW 14 February - 11 April 2015

An exhibition of the most compelling works from 12 designers from the highly acclaimed “Workshopped” exhibitions held in Sydney. Workshopped has discovered, nurtured and launched the careers of...
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TOURING EXHIBITION

Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels

Western Plains Cultural Centre NSW, 18 April – 28 June, 2015

Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels is the eighth in our Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft series. Our first Indigenous Living Treasure, Greeno is a shellworker and artist from Tasmania, whose...
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TOURING EXHIBITION

CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade

State Library of Queensland 01 November 2014 - 14 February 2015

Over the last number of years Object: Australian Design Centre has explored many notions of design. From Freestyle: new Australian design for living in 2006 to HYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics in...
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