A key feature of the upcoming 2016 Decor + Design and the Australian International Furniture Fair will be the International Seminar Series, covering industry’s future trends and hot topics.

Nick Rennie, a leading Australian designer of Happy Finish Design will be kicking off the International Seminar Series discussing his work, inspiration and making it on the global design stage.vases_Nick Rennie

Nick’s design philosophy is, to explore design that takes its inspiration from interaction with everyday items. For Nick, design is a shared process, eliciting an emotional reaction – joy and pleasure. We sat down with Nick to delve further into his seminar:

What inspired your unique design approach?

I am constantly observing the way people interact with everyday objects.  How they use them, why they use them, and sometimes how they might use them for things the original design was not meant.  So I try and process this into a thought or object with my approach to the design being based around the idea of enjoyment. That the user can somehow relate to the object on a personal level and engage with it. Whether that be through an emotional or physical contact.

You love experimenting with materials, exploring their possibilities. Can you share with us the creative process from developing the concept to production? How long would this typically take? 

Light_Nick RennieI think the beauty of what we are able to do, as designers we are constantly working on different projects so that no two days are alike.  One project might require intense engineering and materials evaluation, whilst others might be much more conceptual and ideas based.  This really dictates the process involved in how the project flows.

For me, it all starts with an idea, a conversation, or just a moment that sparks the initial ideation process into action.  I love making things so it’s always sketching and models to try and figure out the form, then when I am happy, on to the computer to work them into 3D data. At this stage, we have a really good understanding of the possible materials and manufacturing process as well.  So this also forms part of the presentation.

There is no specific time frame for how long a project takes from the initial idea until being launched in production.  However if working with a manufacturer to produce the work, it would generally take between one to two years from when you first present them with the designs. However, sometimes it can take much longer.

For example, the Mushroom lamp I launched in 2014 with Ligne Roset was initially designed and exhibited in 2002 in Milan as a prototype in my own exhibition.

You have partnered with a number of leading design houses including Porro, Ligne Roset and Normann Copenhagen. Would you give us a bit of an insight into how these opportunities presented themselves to you? What has been the most gratifying?

Yes, I am extremely fortunate to work with some truly amazing companies and made some fantastic friendships through doing so, which is easily the most gratifying part.  It’s often a long journey together from that initial idea through to the final presentation to the public at one of the fairs, so it’s really rewarding process.

Another key highlight of the upcoming fair is VIVID. Which provides the newest wave of designers a platform to present their body of work. If you could give the finalists one piece of advice to be a leading figure in the current Australian design landscape what would it be?

I think it’s an amazing time to be starting your career. I think more than ever the opportunities right now have never been better. Whether it be through working with others, starting out on your own, or coming together as a work/show as a group collective, I also think that young designers today are breaking down stereotypes of how the industry should run.  With things like digital fabrication, an online presence through social media, it really is a great time to be starting.

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But for me, it comes down to one thing.  Hard work and following your dreams.  I teach at the university as well, and this is the one thing I always try and instil in my students.  Always be true to yourself and back yourself and your work.  Try and get your work out there as much as possible, and always work on new ideas.

Join Happy Finish Design’s Nick Rennie and many other industry experts at Decor + Design and the Australian International Furniture Fair on 21st and 24th July, at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

Visitors can register to attend and purchase a ticket by clicking here.