Trent Jansen STUDIO ~ 2019

When my grandparents migrated to Australia from Holland with their young family in the early 1950s, they arrived to a suburb of Wollongong called Corrimal. They spent their first months staying with family who had arrived earlier, tightly packed into a small suburban house, surrounded by other young immigrant families. Most were fleeing the post-war destruction that had transformed their cities, neighbourhoods, homes and families, and were in search of a new life and opportunity on the other side of the world. ⁣

Soon after, my Oma and Opa along with their four young children, my dad just a toddler, were taken in by a woman named Norma Heather. Norma Heather had a rusty old shed behind her house on the farmland that used to stretch from Wollongong Hospital to mount Keira. The shed had dirt floors and no running water, but it was my family’s first Australian home, and the memory of this shed has become part of our folklore. ⁣

The design of my first building was a studio in which to house my practice, just 18 kilometers north of the place where Norma Heather’s shed once stood. My aunt’s distant memories of Norma Heather’s shed (she was just 4 years old at the time) informed the design of this new shed, a building that now sits in my backyard in Thirroul, functioning as a workshop and studio for me and my small team.⁣

We love working in this very special part of the world, with this constant reminder of the kindness and generosity of Norma Heather, who first welcomed my family to the region that my family and I still call home.

Construction – Matt Park

Joinery – Chris Nicholson

Drafting – Dane Taylor

Image Credit – Tony Amos, Dane Taylor and from the collection of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society

Materials – Timber frame, reclaimed corrugated iron cladding, polished concrete floors, concrete sleeper deck and reclaimed hardwood joinery



The Shaker Family Home is a collection of work inspired by the austere religious and furniture making practices of the Shaker people, during the early 19thCentury. It is during this period that the Shaker religion was at its strongest, centred around New England, in the north-east of the United States. It was also in this era that the Shakers began to make the artefacts for which they are most renowned, their refined timber chairs, cabinets and objects for living, a pre-cursor to Modern design.

The Shakers see labour of all kinds as an act of prayer, as indicated by their central belief – “Hands to work, hearts to god”. As a result, they became dedicated furniture makers, devoting countless hours to this fastidious craft, and perfecting their skills and designs as a testament to god. The Shakers were also celibate, meaning that one could not be born a Shaker, but had to choose the religion. Members of the Shaker faith lived in isolated villages, occupying beautifully crafted houses as collections of disparate individuals who lived and worked together as families, referring to each other as sister, brother, mother and father, despite the absence of blood relation. At its peak, in the early to mid 19thCentury, there were 6000 Shaker believers, but by the early 20thCentury there were only 12 Shaker communities remaining in the United States and by 2017 only 2 Shakers remained in the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester – Brother Arnold Hadd and Sister June Carpenter. As with all religions, believers came and went as their faith waxed and waned and their motivations evolved, an attrition that has meant the near extinction of this humble religion.

The Shaker Family Home is an homage to this way of life: Furniture design and making as an act of prayer; the fragility of faith; and the complexity of family in a community where no children are born. The cabinet in this family of objects represents the Shaker home, a structure that houses the family members in a series of drawers – the rooms of the house. The members of the family are represented by a series of functional object, each living in its own drawer within the cabinet. No two objects are the same, tied together only by the Shaker sensibility that governs their design. As in Shaker communities, these objects can remain in the fold, functioning as part of the family unit, inside the cabinet. However, they are also free to leave the fold and function as autonomous objects outside of the cabinet, the family home, and the community.

The Shaker Family Home required a truly collaborative approach to design and making. The conception of this narrative driven furniture piece required a designer with a strong history of embodying story in physical form. The realisation of this family of objects required a maker whose skills and sensibilities were fully attuned to the complexity and fastidiousness of the Shaker approach to living, worshiping and making. The Shaker Family Home brings together Trent Jansen’s heavily research-led, anthropological design approach with Chris Nicholson’s sensitive understanding and recreation of Shaker theologies and making methodologies in a nuanced homage to the purity of the Shakers, their beliefs and their cabinetry.

Production – Illawarra, Australia

Maker – Chris Nicholson

Image Credit – Watervliet Shakers and Romello Pereira

Materials – American cherry, mirror and brass

Limited edition of 5, 5 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Available through Trent Jansen Studio



In the early years of the British colonisation of Australia, Robert Holden asserts that the myths of Australian Indigenous cultures were ‘one of the most significant crossovers between [the] two cultures [British and Aboriginal] … – a crossover that has retained its potent appeal to the present day’. Holden speaks of the mythical creatures that originated in Aboriginal folklore and were shared with white settlers during the early years of colonisation.

Stories of the yahoo – a creature ‘resembling a man … but more slender, with long white straight hair … arms as extraordinarily long … with great talons’ captured the imaginations of the new British settlers. The fear of the yahoo soon became one that local Aboriginal people shared with the new British settlers. This fear of a gruesome and vicious creature gained its potency from the folkloric tales that were used to substantiate its existence. These tales were suitably vague, their lack of detail being attributed to the fierce nature of these creatures and the assumption that no one had survived an encounter.

This story ‘became one of the very few Aboriginal legends to be embraced by the Europeans’, uniting two culturally disparate societies and forming a much-needed link between individuals from both communities. The word yahoo soon became interchangeable with bunyip, a name that resulted from a linguistic misunderstanding between Aboriginal people who thought of it as an English word and British settlers who thought that it was a local term.

Prior to understanding this, I was putting Robert Holden’s theories to the test without knowing it. I was staying in Alice Springs on and off for a period when I was introduced to a Western Arrernte man by the name of Baden Williams. He took me to his hometown of Hermannsburg and on the way we got talking about Western Arrernte creatures. Over the three years that followed Baden and I met regularly, but our conversation would always come back to local creatures, and as Holden’s theory suggests, our friendship formed around these conversations.

Pankalangu is one of three groups of creatures who frequent Western Arrernte country. Stories of these creatures are not sacred, but scary stories told to children in order to ensure that they do not stray into the bush alone, and according to Baden, when you speak about one group you generally speak about all three. The two other groups are arrkutja-irrintja and nyipi barnti.

Arrkutja-irrintja is a female creature with a sweet smell, who adorns herself with flowers. She is known to abduct young men and take them to a parallel dimension for several days, or even weeks.

Nyipi barnti is a strong and muscular being who works as an assassin, killing any unwelcome people or creatures that travel on his land. He has a pungent smell – like sweat, dust and ochre and is known for abducting young women.

The Pankalangu is a story that is told to children throughout Central and Northern Australia, but according to Western Arrernte story telling, pankalangu is a territorial being that lives in the scrub and is completely camouflaged in the desert and bush. Pankalangu can only move with the rain, and is made visible when the rain that falls on him is caught by the light, defining his form in a glistening silhouette.

After undertaking consultation with elders and senior custodians at Hermannsberg to gain permission to reference this scary story, I began to interpret the Pankalangu as a series of furniture pieces. Baden’s initial descriptions were challenging to interpret, but over subsequent meetings working together with Baden, these descriptions grew in detail, and my interpretations evolved accordingly.

As pankalangu is a Central Australian creature, my interpretations were formally influenced by of some of the unique characteristics of other creatures from this region. Both the perente and the Central Australian locust became major influences as these animals possess an ochre coloured, camouflaged exterior that masks an iridescent, hidden element – the perente hides a lilac tongue and the locust hides its beautifully translucent blue wings.

The Pankalangu Wardrobe, Armchair and Side-table are designed interpretations of pankalangu – these animals are adorned with scales which camouflage as they move, but when the light catches these copper scales their form is defined by a glistening silhouette.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions

Production – Sydney and Illawarra, Australia

Makers – Trent Jansen Studio, Luke Coleman and Adam Price

Image Credit – Tommy Watson and Michael Corridore

Story Credit – Baden Williams

Pankalangu Wardrobe:

Materials – Lamination bent plywood, Queensland walnut, copper and brass

Limited edition of 3, 1 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Pankalangu Credenza:

Materials – Lamination bent plywood, Queensland walnut, copper and brass

Limited edition of 3, 2 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 1 remaining

Pankalangu Side Table:

Materials – Lamination bent plywood, Queensland walnut, copper and brass

Limited edition of 3, 3 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Pankalangu Arm Chair:

Materials – Plywood, stainless steel, Tasmanian wallaby pelt, copper, polyurethane foam and French leather

Limited edition of 3, 2 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Pankalangu Bowl:

Materials – Tasmanian wallaby pelt, aluminium and New Zealand leather

Available in Australia through Criteria
Available in Europe and the UK through Rossana Orlandi
Available in Asia and the USA through Gallery All



“I like the armchair, it’s a proper Jangarra ngurra, the Jangarra could hide behind that one. It’s ok that someone might have that in their home as furniture, it’s an easy story they can understand, don’t you think?”

– Rita Minga, artist at Mangkaja Arts.

The Jangarra Armchair was designed by Rita Minga, Johnny Nargoodah, Trent Jansen, and Wes Maselli, and made by these artists as well as Gene Tighe, Elsie Dickens, Duane Shaw, Illiam Nargoodah, Mayarn Lawford, Eva Nargoodah and Yangkarni Penny K-Lyons. It has been created in two locations very far apart; Fitzroy Crossing in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, and the Wollongong region on the east coast of New South Wales.

Early in my first visit, sitting with the women carving ngurti (coolamon) from softwood, I came away with a list of mysterious humanoids, together with vague outlines of their appearances and how they might behave, should you encounter one. I particularly bonded with Rita Minga – an older woman with a great deal of knowledge from the Jaru, Kukaja and Walmajarri language groups. Rita recalls “I’ve worked with other artists, but Trent was the first kartiya (whitefella) artist. He was really interested in those stories”. It was her drawing of Jangarra that was the germ of the Jangarra Armchair.

According to Rita’s accounts, Jangarra is known colloquially as the ‘man killer’. A large, hairy man who carries a boomerang and a shield, Jangarra (or, ‘that Jangarra-bloke’) is known to crouch down and hide behind large rocks and anthills, observing his prey from this hidden position in the landscape. She recalls being told the story of Jangarra as a child by the old people at night, around the campfire: “They told us not to go close to the big mungku, the big anthills, because it was Jangarra ngurra, the home of that big man, Jangarra. As kids we’d go a long way hunting for a goanna, we’d dig under the small anthills but not the large ones, afraid of this man who might hurt us.” Rita is adamant that Jangarra is a real person, a real man.

With my particular interest in creature
mythologies and the starting point of Rita’s description of the Jangarra, I proposed that we co-author an interpretation of this creature and translate it into an object. As part of this exchange, Rita drew her interpretation of the Jangarra hiding behind an anthill. Then I drew my interpretation of her sketch, translating her drawing into an armchair. Based on these initial sketches, it was decided that coolomon wood, and forms that referenced the coolomons made in the Kimberley region could make up the componentry of this design.

A group of dedicated Mangkaja artists, including Johnny Nargoodah, Illiam Nargoodah, Gene Tighe, Eva Nargoodah and Elsie Dickens, along with Rita and I, began to carve these coolamon-like forms from locally felled Jartalu trees. The basic forms were given shape by Rita, Gene, Eva and Elsie, who hand-carved these organic objects using axes. The constant sound of axe-chipping was calming, yet over time become the soundtrack of hard work. The forms were further refined by Johnny, Illiam and I using an angle grinder fitted with a wood carving head. Wearing goggles and soon covered in wood chunks and dust we resembled creatures ourselves.

Once the coolamons were formed, Johnny, Wes and I took them to the river, driving straight branches into the sand to generate an armature on which to position the coolamons as components of the chair. This armature allowed the Jangarra Armchair to be designed in three-dimensions and in real-time, placing the coolamons upside down and adjusting and rearranging them with the aim of generating an overall form that referenced both the anthill and the Jangarra ngurra.

Another important aspect of the Jangarra was the addition of traditional human hair string making. Myarn and Penny, the last two remaining people in Fitzroy Crossing who still have the skill to practice, teach and make human hair string in the traditional way. This is culturally significant to the Jangarra story given the now rare hair string creation skills and the subsequent reinvigoration of these skills for the project.

Words by Wes Maselli, Trent Jansen and Rita Minga.

Commissioner – Fremantle Arts Centre and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency

Curator – Erin Coates

Production – Fitzroy Crossing and Illawarra, Australia

Makers – Rita Minga, Johnny Nargoodah, Gene Tighe, Elsie Dickens, Duane Shaw, Illiam Nargoodah, Mayarn Lawford, Eva Nargoodah, Yangkarni Penny K-Lyons and Trent Jansen Studio

Public Collection – National Gallery of Victoria

Image Credit – Erin Coates and Bo Wong

Materials – Jartalu wood, gum branches and human hair

Limited edition of 3, 2 remaining



“I’ve been working at Mangkaja for 16 years, but it’s my role as a technician to help others make art, it’s less often that I have the chance to make art myself. In my past I’ve worked as, among other things, a yard builder and a saddlemaker, so these are some of the skills I was able to bring to the project….It was a new challenge, working with Trent … he was interested in those broken pieces of cars, what some people might think are rubbish. I mean, I’ve fixed up lawnmowers, and old chairs, tyres, that kind of thing, but I’ve never thought that it could be art. These were new ideas that he brought. I enjoyed that, looking at the shape of things and how to make them into something new. This project has given me a chance to use my extensive range of skills in an artistic context whilst also teaching my son Illiam and working with Trent.”

– Johnny Nargoodah, artist at Mangkaja Arts.

Collisions is set of three works, a bench, armchair and vessel, designed by Johnny Nargoodah and I, and made by Johnny, Duane Shaw and I. Like the Jangarra Armchair, they were created in Fitzroy Crossing then transported to Thirroul to be completed.

Newly manufactured car panels are key examples of precision human industrial capability and complex mass production. Attached to Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols and Ford Falcons, these industrial objects find their way into the Kimberley region, hurtling down dirt roads and lumbering along bush tracks, all the while exposed to extreme heat and rain as the wet and dry seasons track through their inevitable cycle. It is in this environment that these automobiles and the attached panels are subject to some of the most extreme and trying conditions of any place in the world. In some instances, often tragic for those occupying the vehicle, these industrial machines are put to the ultimate test, careering into a tree, or an oncoming vehicle. Ironically, the most advanced human machinery cannot mimic the affect that a tree or stray bull has on these steel forms. These violent and sometimes traumatic collisions force these car panels into beautifully complex forms, whose undulations could not be achieved by any other means.

Within my design and art practice, I’ve developed a love for the idiosyncratic, a sensibility that sees beauty in the imperfection resulting from manual making and the affect that chance can have in shaping a material. This responsiveness to certain forms drew me to explore crushed car panels, found on vehicles in informal car wrecking yards around Fitzroy Crossing. Using a battery powered angle grinder, Duane and I selected and removed several crumpled bonnets and took them back to Mangkaja. Seeing them laying in the yard out the back of Mangkaja, Johnny became interested, approaching me to ask “What are we doing with these?”

Johnny is a Nyikina man who grew up in the region surrounding Fitzroy Crossing and worked as a yard builder on a cattle station for much of his adult life. During this period, Johnny learned to manipulate metal using industrial methods. This technical background, combined with a natural eye for perfection, make Johnny a precise maker, with a preference for flawless craftsmanship and extreme attention to detail.

Our process of making something new with the old rusted car bonnets progressed with Johnny drawing chalk lines onto the metal to mark out where to cut. He defined logical cuts “…where the dents are, you sort of stand back and then you can see the right place to make a line… and that’s how you mark it”. Sitting the panels on tree stumps, we then cut into them with a grinder. Next, we had to grind the edges, Johnny is a tireless perfectionist in every task he undertakes. As Johnny explains, “we need to grind the edges otherwise somebody might get cut. We use sandpaper to make it soft on the edge, it’s sort of round, if you feel it. Every edge where we cut with that grinder it was left sharp. We had to use a screwdriver to manipulate the little sharp parts.”

Working these lines into precise and beautifully finished edges, Johnny then suggested covering the top surface of the bench with leather: “The shapes look really good in their finished wrecked forms, already wrecked, already in their shape. These forms, anything could be made out of them. Because this looked like a chair … I wanted to add the leather for softness, functionality and because it looked good”. After soaking the leather Johnny pushed it into shape “…so that it follows the shape of the metal”. Johhny’s experience with sculpting leather in this way is unique, a skill he was also able to teach both his son Illiam and I in my studio in Thirroul.

I put forward the name for this set of works,
Collision, feeling that this is the perfect metaphor for the coming together of individuals from disparate cultures and making sensibilities in the production of a collection of artifacts that embody and celebrate this place of cultural confluence. Reflecting on the creation of our work for In Cahoots, Johnny’s response is more direct: “Well what I want to say, even though it’s rubbish, it’s come out looking really good.”

Words by Trent Jansen and Johnny Nargoodah.

Commissioner – Fremantle Arts Centre and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency

Curator – Erin Coates

Production – Fitzroy Crossing and Illawarra, Australia

Makers – Johnny Nargoodah, Duane Shaw, Jarrod Vinen and Trent Jansen Studio

Image Credit – Erin Coates and Bo Wong

Materials – Found car bonnet, stainless steel and New Zealand leather

Available through Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert



In his book on Australia’s Folklore of Fear, Robert Holden explores pre-colonial ideas of Australia as a Great Southern Land – an imaginary landmass conjured up to counterbalance the continents in the northern hemisphere, as far removed as possible from Britain, the centre of the Christian world. Holden speaks of Australia as an imaginary world, occupied by unimaginable creatures and monsters.

After Captain James Cook’s expedition to Australia in 1770, tales of dense, alien vegetation and fantastic native creatures spread quickly in England. This seemed to be evidence that Australia was in fact an imaginary world, occupied by unimaginable creatures and these exotic tales captured the imaginations of the British people. The exotic nature of this new land was so extreme to the average Briton that the line between newly documented flora and fauna and fantasy seemed arbitrary. Long before the First Fleet of convicts left England bound for Botany Bay, a new mythical Australian creature arose from the frenzy of stories of the new continent, this creature was known as the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay.

Described as a savage giant of 9 feet tall, with a broad face, deathly eyes and covered in long, but sparse wiry hair, the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay surely occupied the thoughts of some of the new British arrivals as they surveyed the bush of Botany Bay, or tried to sleep on their first night in the new colony.

Fears of this creature were thought to be legitimate when British settlers learnt of a creature called the yahoo or yowie from local Aboriginal people, their descriptions matching the widely circulated depictions of the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay. Stories of the yahoo – a creature that resembled a slender man, with long white straight hair, extraordinarily long arms and great talons – captured the imaginations of the new British settlers, and a fear of the yahoo soon became one that local Aboriginal people shared with the new British settlers. This fear of a gruesome and vicious creature gained its potency from the folkloric tales that were used to substantiate its existence. These tales were suitably vague, their lack of detail attributed to the fierce nature of these creatures and the assumption that no one had survived an encounter.

As hybrid creatures, the Hairy Wild Man From Botany Bay Chaise Lounge and Chandelier take influence from native Australian and European creatures, including: The tussock moth caterpillar – a spikey native Australian caterpillar; and the Icelandic sheep – the European animal with the longest fur. These objects employ materials, such as leather, glass and animal pelt, that were part of the common European vernacular during the time that the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay was imagined.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions

Production – Sydney, Illawarra, Canberra and Queanbeyan, Australia

Makers – Trent Jansen Studio, Chris Nicholson, Peter Stapelton, Boris and Mariana Emilio, Jeremy Lepisto and Ben Edols

Image Credit – Michael Corridore

Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay Chandelier:

Materials – Clear blown glass, smoked float glass, silicone, stainless steel and cable assembly

Limited edition of 3, 2 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 1 remaining

Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay Chaise Lounge:

Materials – Icelandic sheep skin, New Zealand leather, plywood, American walnut and polyurethane foam

Limited edition of 3, 3 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay Bowl:

Materials – Icelandic sheep skin, aluminium and New Zealand leather

Available in Australia through Criteria
Available in Asia and the USA through Gallery All



Object Therapy was part of the Hotel Hotel Fix and Make program, culminating in an exhibition of 30 broken objects that underwent therapy – treated and creatively repaired by a designer or artist. The exhibition opened at Hotel Hotel from 14-30 October, 2016.

Object Therapy was designed to encourage us to rethink our consumption patterns and re-evaluate the broken objects that surround us. It explores the role of repair in our society and its possibilities.

This project was developed by Dr. Guy Keulemans of the University of New South Wales, Niklavs Rubenis of the Australian National University and Andy Marks, and is an investigation into the culture of transformative repair as practiced by local, interstate and international artists and designers.

Trent Jansen Studio was assigned Teena Harkins’ beautifully nostalgic 1970s washing trolley. We viewed this object as a beacon of the Australian Dream, whereby every Australian family could aspire to own a backyard so large that one would require a trolley just to transport wet clothes from the fibro laundry at the back of the house, to the Hills Hoist planted dead in the centre of the yard. This was not a time of medium density living – washing machines were not squeezed in next to dishwashers in the kitchen, nor was it a time of recycled plastic, injection moulded clothes pegs.

We transformed Teena’s 1970s washing trolley into a collection of clothes pegs of the archetype used during this period, as a reminder that the quintessential Australian Dream is a thing of the past, a bygone component of an ever evolving culture. The relinquishment of the quarter acre block, the washing trolley, the Hills Hoist and the archetypal timber clothes peg is proof that Australia is a culture in flux, just like all other cultures at all times in human history.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Materials – Used washing trolley

Production – Sydney and Illawarra, Australia

Image Credit – Lee Grant and Oscar Cowie


DESIGN BY THEM ~ 2008 - 2016

The Kissing and Nuptial Pendants were designed as sustainable pieces of lighting, aiming to be involved in a lasting personal relationship with their owner, fostered by the human characteristics that these piece possesses. These pieces hope to play an important roll in the life of their owner, thus becoming sustainable instead of disposable.

The Kissing Pendants were designed as an expression of the beautiful intimacy that exists between two people when they kiss. When two people kiss they are completely engrossed in each other, each person giving them self emotionally to the other and losing all concern for what is happening around them.

The Kissing Pendants are two identical, pressed metal light shades. When the light is off the two shades hang separately, side-by-side. As with kissing, when the two shades are pushed together a magnetic attraction holds them together, and a magnetic reed switch turns both lights on simultaneously.

The Nuptial Pendants are an extension of this story, communicating the bond that exists between two people that have been together for a very long time. Like an elderly couple that have spent their lives together, just as in love as the day they met.

The Nuptial Pendants are two identical, cotton lampshades that appear to have been fused together as life-long companions.

In 2008 the Kissing Pendants were awarded the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award.

Image Credit – Alex Kershaw and Pete Daly

Nuptial Pendants and Floor Lamp:

Manufacture – DesignByThem

Material – Styrene, powder coated steel, cotton and cable assembly

Production – Huizhou, China

Available through DesignByThem



This work pays homage to Ai WeiWei’s controversial and innovative work ~ Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn. By destroying an object that physically embodies two thousand years of Chinese tradition, culture and history, WeiWei openly denounces the conventions that are used to legitimise centuries of indoctrination and malevolent actions, perpetrated by the Chinese establishment.

Dropping a Kumhar Wala Mudka offers a similar critique of the traditions and history that underpin Indian social conventions. In India, the Kumhar Wala (potter) is among the lower castes, meaning that these craftspeople, who make functional objects serving millions of Indians on a daily basis, do not earn the respect that they deserve for their role within Indian society. Kumhar Walas work extremely long hours, making thousands of thrown objects every day, and the remuneration received for their many hours of toil is no where near that of higher, more traditionally educated castes. The Kumhar Walas working in India are some of the most skilful clay throwers in the world, but they are not recognised for their skill and they do not receive the reverence that they deserve.

In this work, Abbas Galwani, a Kumhar Wala living and working in Dharavi, drops a traditional Indian Mudka. With this act, Abbas denounces the cultural structures that restrict his social mobility, impede his ability to gain renown for his unquestionable skill, and hinder his capacity to provide for his family.

If India (The Emerging Giant) is to reach its full potential, the working classes must be afforded a place of pride and equality within Indian society. A rising super-power, built on a foundation of resentment, inequality and exclusivity, will be forever undermined by unrest and discontent.

Only ten of these pieces were made, each coming with three framed black and white photographs of Abbas Galwani dropping his matka.

Materials – 100% terracotta

Production – Dharavi, Mumbai, India

Maker – Abbas Galwani

Image Credit – Neville Sukhia, Amy Luschwitz and Trent Jansen

Limited edition of 10, 8 remaining

Available through Trent Jansen Studio



I am interested in the Australian philosophy of make do – to do your best with what you have. Jugaad is the Indian make do, with a slight twist. Jugaad is doing just enough with what you have, and it is also figuring it out as you go ~ improvising, rather than planning the direction forward. You can see this philosophy in action everywhere in India: From the way that people cross the street ~ stepping off the footpath and meandering through the traffic in whichever direction provides a free path; to high-rise construction ~ steel reinforcement protrudes from half built skyscrapers all over this country. It seems that these projects will be finished when there is the time and/or money to do so.

For me, the Chor Bazaar and Porosity Kabari are all about jugaad, and this has made me a little nervous. I am used to researching projects thoroughly and working through production processes in a very controlled manner, but with the design and production for Porosity Kabari happening in just three weeks, who has time for planning or control. Most days during this project we would head into the bazaar or Dharavi and observe the makers who work in these hubs of industry. We observed and then we reacted, generating ideas by improvising forms based on those that were possible, using the techniques and/or materials that we saw. We also improvised our way through the making process, as options, problems or questions arose, we suggested the best immediate solution that came to mind.

Jugaad With Car Parts began on one of our first days in the Chor Bazaar, when we came across groups of men completely disassembling cars. Embracing the spirit of jugaad, we asked some of those men if they would separate some of the car panels for us, and paid way too much for them to do so. Regardless, we left this corner of the bazaar with our first car panel, taking it across the Chor Bazaar to a small metal workshop that we had hoped would be interested in working with us.

As it turns out, the guys that we had in mind couldn’t have been less interested in experimenting with our ideas, and so we walked from workshop to workshop until we found someone who was willing to work with our simple cardboard model and cracked, old car panel.

Juzer and Abbas worked quickly and we soon jugaaded through a few different joining methods. The hand riveting used to make cookers in the Chor Bazaar turned out to be a beautifully unrefined option, and within a day we had our first set of prototypes.

A chance glimpse of some copper in one of the other workshops provided a new material to experiment with, and my favourite Jugaad With Car Parts combines a beautifully warn white car bonnet with copper panels and copper rivets.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Materials – Used car panel and copper

Production – Chor Bazaar, Mumbai, India

Image Credit – Tara Chatrath, Neville Sukhia and Trent Jansen

Available through Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert



These Jugaad objects are not carefully thought out, meticulously planned or painstakingly crafted, they are not the self-conscious innovations of designers presenting their most treasured ideas to a critical audience. The outcomes that we reach are completely dependant on the alleyway we chose to venture down, and the material or maker that just happened to be at the end of that street. The outcomes of Porosity Kabari are equally dependant on our state of mind at the moment that we noticed (or didn’t notice) a potentially interesting material or process, and our momentary train of thought in the instant that we attempted to design that material or process into an object of interest.

Each object in this collection is an experiment with jugaad, with every improvised decision sending that project in a new direction. The destiny of each object was guided by a series of instantaneous and unplanned decisions, who knew where they would end up. These objects are the physical embodiment of jugaad ~ figured out as we went.

I have been interested in working with Indian terracotta since a friend introduced me to some potters in Delhi a few years ago. It is a beautifully raw material, and one that has not found many applications in designed objects.

This experiment with terracotta began with a tour of the potter’s colony in Dharavi by the incredibly gracious and generous Abbas Galwani. As I came to know this beautifully tranquil and communal corner of Dharavi, and learned more about Abbas’ capabilities as a potter, I became more interested in working with this material, in this place. We observed the forms that Abbas could generate through throwing as well as the scale at which he was able to work, and began to suggest forms that might transform terracotta into simple furniture.

By the end of the first week I had grown so fond of these forms that I designed a series of vessels experimenting with the same material, formal typologies and construction method. Soon I had become too fond of these ideas, attempting to control them toward my version of perfection, rather than allowing jugaad, the intended conceptual foundation of the project, to take over.

In India, somehow jugaad sneaks in, even when you do your best to ward it off. The final results of Jugaad With Pottery are idiosyncratic in a way that could not be designed. Abbas’ sensibility and interpretation have affected these pieces, and I am happy to see some of him in these objects.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Materials – 100% terracotta

Production – Dharavi, Mumbai, India

Maker – Abbas Galwani

Image Credit – Tara Chatrath, Neville Sukhia and Trent Jansen

Available through Trent Jansen Studio


TAIT ~ 2016

For many, surf culture is a quintessential aspect of a uniquely Australian lifestyle. The beach conjures memories of summer holidays and the freedom of long days spent by the ocean, exploring with friends and family before returning to the campsite, with third degree sunburn. On days like these we learned how to spot a rip, squirt cungie, and monitor the relentless cycle of the tide. These lessons begin when we are children and continue into adulthood, shaping our intuition and forging a resolute respect for the beauty and treachery of the ocean.

The Tidal Collection was designed to represent these quintessentially Australian experiences. This collection draws on wave diagrams and the nostalgia of childhood, beachside holidays, in the design of a range of stainless steel wire furniture, made for use by the pool or ocean.

The three chairs in the collection are designed based on the formation stages of a wave as it rolls toward the shore: The Tidal Sun Lounge is the thick, laid back wave at the back of the set; the Tidal Lounger is a curling wave at the place in the set where surfers usually lurk; and the Tidal Chair is the close-out that breaks on the sand. This collection makes use of the waves at the heart of Australian beachside culture and transforms these ephemeral forms, created by the tide and the shore, into sculptural, functional objects.

The four tables in the collection are designed based on the less common occurrence of waterspouts, which sometimes touch down on the ocean during a storm. Like a waterspout, these tables twist as they ascend, inspired by the spout’s spiraling water that rises to the cloud cover above.

Manufacture – Tait

Materials – Stainless steel, glass, porcelain, outdoor foam and outdoor textile

Production – Melbourne, Australia

Image Credit – Haydn Cattach, Marcus Piper and Mark Chew

Available through Tait


UAP ~ 2015

During the 19th Century the Australian frontier was forged as squatters and selectors moved across the open country, claiming parcels of land on which to settle and develop industry that might sustain the colonies. In the harshest of conditions, these individuals worked in great isolation, clearing the virgin bush and transforming it into grazing land (Hooper and Hooper 1988). The frontier population was so sparse that amenities of all kinds were virtually non-existent, and this lack of service fostered a particular character trait in many frontier Australians, whereby men and women living in these circumstances were forced to improvise to survive – to make do.

When it came time to sit, eat or sleep on the frontier, the make do philosophy was turned to the task of making furniture. These objects were made by hand, using any available materials and employing only the simplest of bush carpentry techniques (Cornall, McAlpine et al. 1990). These objects were fashioned using any means possible, with little time or concern for neatness or appropriate method. “The very crudeness of this furniture is a reflection of the harsh and difficult lives of those who made it” (Hooper and Hooper 1988, p13). The only priority was in the construction of a functional object in a short period of time, using as few resources as possible (Cornall, McAlpine et al. 1990), so not to take away from the time and resources required for endeavours more closely connected to survival.

The Make Do Bench and Seat are influenced by the make do attitude that was born on the Australian frontier during the 19th Century. These objects adopt a simple making technique, cradling a log in a series of wedges, in order to provide a humble seating surface.

Each component of the Make Do Bench and Seat is available in a large range of materials and finishes, allowing the user to customise their bench, combining materials such as Australian native timbers, sandstone, marble, granite, brass, mild steel and any colour in the Dulux powder coat palette.

Manufacture – UAP

Production – Shanghai, China and Brisbane, Australia

Public Collection – University of New South Wales and University of Wollongong

Image Credit – Unknown author and Roger D’Souza

Available through UAP



The Broached Commissions was engaged by Molonglo Group (MG) co-director Nectar Efkarpidis to work with him on delivering a suite of furniture for their new offices, that we dub MGHQ. The Broached MGHQ collection is a reflection upon the family business, and its philosophical and commercial interests. The collection was based on a curatorial essay written by Broached Commissions creative director Lou Weis.

The Council of Nicea was one of the most significant democratic meetings to take place in the once Hellenic city of Anatolia, in the region where the Efkarpidis family originated in Greece. In 325 AD Constantine gathered somewhere between 250 – 318 bishops from every corner of the Roman Empire for this fabled meeting. Before this time many common Christian beliefs were still being debated, and the Council of Nicea was called to discuss a single, utopian view of Christianity. These bishops were charged with creating a consolidated vision for the Christian faith, a vision that would become gospel for the generations that followed.

One of the key talking points at the Council of Nicea was the creation of Jesus. Two rival Christian factions had been preaching contradictory beliefs, and this was challenging the foundations of the Christian faith. The argument was whether Jesus was made ‘of God’, or ‘by God’. This distinction was of extreme importance – if Jesus was made of God, he was considered to share in God’s divinity, but if Jesus was created by God, he was simply one of God’s creations, his most perfect creation, but a creation none the less.

The Council of Nicea was essentially a discussion about legacy, whether the son of God was made of
God, or by God. The legacy of a man or woman is measured by what they leave behind for the next generation of their family to build upon. These building blocks can be physical (property, companies etc.), they can be financial and most importantly they can be elements of character (the personality traits, ethics and priorities that are passed on) – elements of the father or mother that go into the making of their children. As the Molonglo Group is a family company, this is a concept that seemed particularly relevant to this project.

The Council of Nicea Table is a collaborative table that draws on the democratic nature of the Council of Nicea, but most importantly, makes a strong statement about the history of the Molonglo Group and the importance of legacy in the development of this company.

The table is the father and the chairs are his children, made from cut-away sections of the body of the father. The chairs only exist because of what the father has given them – his legacy.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions and Molonglo Group

Material – Queensland walnut and kangaroo leather

Production – Sydney, Australia

Maker – Adam Price

Image Credit – Church of Stavropoleos and Joshua Ayett



The Broached Commissions was engaged by Molonglo Group (MG) co-director Nectar Efkarpidis to work with him on delivering a suite of furniture for their new offices, that we dub MGHQ. The Broached MGHQ collection is a reflection upon the family business, and its philosophical and commercial interests. The collection was based on a curatorial essay written by Broached Commissions creative director Lou Weis.

The traditions and artefacts that make up a culture are often seen as concrete and fundamental parts of that culture. When we practise these traditions or use these artefacts, we consider these elements of tradition to be unchanging and solid links to our ancestors.

In reality cultures evolve, and the traditions that we practise today are in many cases different to those of our ancestors. This becomes clear when cultures migrate. When individuals move from their motherland, they take with them a snap shot of their culture at the time of their departure. In many instances this culture and all of the traditions, rituals, foods, language and artefacts that are associated with it become significant emblems of origin. These traditions define our identity, and in a country like Australia they allow us to develop community through common ancestry.

In the motherland these traditions evolve over time and sometimes disappear, leaving individuals dispersed throughout the world, practising traditions based on their memories of a culture that no longer exists in the place where it originated.

For example, there are Sicilian dialects spoken in parts of Melbourne that are no longer spoken in Sicily.

The Diaspora Light is a pendant light designed to draws on these ideas of cultural migration, with specific reference to the movement of members of the Efkarpidis family.

The Diaspora Light produces light at the periphery via a round neon tube. In the centre of the pendant hangs a false light globe, which does not create its own light, but reflects the light produced by the peripheral neon.

In this conceptual piece, the neon ring represents those groups of individuals who have left the motherland, dispersed throughout the world, and still practising the same set of cultural rituals that were performed in the motherland when they left. The false globe in the centre represents the motherland, the origin of this system of cultural practices. Although the motherland is the original source of the peripheral culture, it no longer practices those cultural rituals. This place is looked upon as the centre of the peripheral culture, but in reality it has evolved and become a mirror, reflecting the peripheral culture back on itself.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions and Molonglo Group

Material – Glass, aluminium, stainless steel and neon

Production – Canberra, Australia

Makers – Jeremy Lepisto, Tom Rowney, Brian Corr, Annette Blair, Belinda Toll and Joe Deren

Image Credit – Unknown author and Joshua Ayett



In his book ‘Attachment’, John Bowlby explores our innate human longing for movement, and not just any movement, but a movement that reminds us of the rock that we once felt whilst being walked by our mothers. Bowlby’s research shows that when a baby is rocked in a manner that emulates being walked by a mother, the baby will remain content.

Bruce Chatwin interprets the work of John Bowlby in his novel ‘Songlines’, suggesting that the innate comfort that comes from walking is rooted in nomadism. Human beings of all creeds were once (at least partially) nomadic, moving between fertile zones throughout the year, following food and temperate climate. Chatwin surmises that these ancient practises are somehow imprinted on our psyche, and that we still carry with us a desire for movement. Only in the act of walking are our minds occupied with a simple, repetitive task, leaving us free to ponder in contentment.

Chinaman’s File is a rocking chair designed for the roughly 16500 Chinese gold diggers who walked from Robe in South Australia to the Victorian gold fields during the mid 19th Century. At the height of anti-Chinese sentiment during this period, all ships carrying Chinese nationals to the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria were taxed for each Chinese person on board. To avoid the tax, captains began to drop Chinese passengers in South Australia, a few hundred metres off Guichen Bay near the small town of Robe. From here these Chinese gold diggers would travel across country on foot, covering over 300 miles in as little as 13 days.

“To reach the goldfields, they would load the heavier equipment onto drays, for the trek could be several hundred kilometres. The Chinese men would travel on foot in single file, each carrying supplies in two baskets hanging from the ends of a long pole over their shoulders. Each man could carry up to 78 kilograms – more than their average body weight” (Hill, 2010, Page 116). Because of these unusual processions, ‘single file’ became known as ‘Chinaman’s File’ during this period.

These men were economic nomads, moving from digging to digging in the search of their fortune. During these gruelling journeys across a forbidding and alien countryside it is likely that these men would have longed for the comforts of home – familiar food, familiar domesticity, the welcoming embrace of a mother, or the irreplaceable touch of a lover. Many would have longed for the warmth of a nurturing female presence. This rocking chair aims to remind these men of their distant mothers, allowing them to revisit their infancy and the memory of being walked to contentment.

Chinaman’s File was designed to simulate the rock experienced by a baby while being walked by its mother: each rock of the chair is designed to subject the user to the same arc and cadence that a baby experiences during its mother’s single step. To achieve this, a filmic study was conducted which analysed the movement of a mother carrying her child on her back as she walked; the motion that the baby experienced during one step was plotted and from this a rocking arc was extracted. Chinaman’s File was then designed to rock in a motion that emulates this arc of movement. In theory this action will produce a feeling of contentment that we have not felt since our infancy.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions

Material – Manchurian Ash and Stainless Steel

Production – Beijing, China and Sydney, Australia

Makers – Naihan Li and Co and Adam Price

Public Collection – National Gallery of Victoria

Image Credit – S C Brees and Scottie Cameron

Limited edition of 8, 6 remaining. 2 artist’s proofs, 2 remaining

Available through Criteria



The Briggs Family Tea Service aims to represent a family that was forged and defined by the turbulent nature of Van Diemen’s Land during the early years of colonisation. This family depicts a microcosm of the many varied aspects of the colonial and Aboriginal relationships that were being forced and forged throughout Australia during this period of our history.

A tea-pot and sugar bowl represent the parents, George Briggs of Dunstable in Bedfordshire and Woretermoeteyenner of the Pairrebeenne people of North East Van Diemen’s Land. The physical characteristics of these two objects are defined by the hybrid life that Briggs and Woretermoeteyenner were forced to adopt in order to survive the cultural collision that affected Van Diemen’s Land in the early days of a new British colony.

Briggs is a porcelain tea pot, adopting a form that merges the elegant lid and spout of Worcester or Bow Porcelain with a gnarly, organic body and handle, borrowing their form from the roots that Briggs was forced to eat in times of hardship and the kelp that was so widely used by the Aboriginal people of the region. These forms portray the environment that Briggs struggled to survive in and the hard man that he became as a result of this coarse existence.

Woretermoeteyenner’s evolution sees the merging of an elegant Pairrebeenne kelp water carrier with a courtly handle and lid derived from the work of French and British Porcelain houses of this period. The grace of this combination represents Woretermoeteyenner as an important member of local royalty, a woman that did all that she could to maintain her family line.

The milk jug and eldest daughter, Dolly Mountgarret Briggs takes on the characteristics of both parents. Dolly’s contact with her mother and strong Pairrebeenne heritage is represented through her organically formed wallaby skin body, while her need to adopt elements of her British ancestry is shown through the refined nature of her cast porcelain handles and lid.

The three tea cups represent Eliza, Mary and John Briggs. While John lived a relatively good life, Eliza and Mary spent their early childhood moving from one foster home to the next. Both spent periods on the street, with Eliza ending up in a benevolent hospital and Mary finding herself in prison for vagrancy. John grew to be an old man, but both Eliza and Mary died as young women at 21 years of age.

Commissioner – Broached Commissions

Material – Porcelain, bull kelp, wallaby pelt, brass and copper

Production – Sydney, Illawarra and Launceston, Australia

Makers – Vicki West, Rod Bamford and Oliver Smith

Public Collection – Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and National Gallery of Victoria

Image Credit – William Duke and Scottie Cameron

Limited edition of 5, 0 remaining



The Cyclesign is a bicycle reflector made from used road signs. These road signs come complete with all the characteristics of their previous use, including reflective vinyl labels and the odd evidence of their life by the roadside.

Cyclesigns are available in two versions, Cyclesign Rear Reflector and Cyclesign Wheel Reflector. The Wheel Reflector is designed to be easily installed around the spokes in a bicycle wheel, while the Rear Reflector is designed to simply wrap around the seat post or front tube of a bicycle. In keeping with the reused nature of this project, the strap is cut from old bicycle tubes, making the felt padding the only new material used in the manufacture of these reflectors.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Material – Cyclesign Wheel Reflector – 93% reused road sign, 5% felt, 1.5% stainless steel, 0.5% aluminium

Material – Cyclesign Rear Reflector – 88.5% reused road sign, 11% reused bicycle tube, 0.5% felt

Production – Sydney and Illawarra, Australia

Image Credit – Alex Kershaw



Your average two-dimensional stencil artist goes out on the street with a cardboard stencil and a can of spray paint. With the 3D Stencil, I go out on the street with a small mould and a can of ecologically inert expansion foam. The mould is attached to a wall and filled with expansion foam. Once the foam has cured the mould is removed, leaving a small form on the wall.

The first form used for the 3D Stencil has been a small half lampshade. A battery with LED’s is placed inside the shade, providing a small light source in some of the city’s darkest corners.

In 2009, the 3D Stencil was a finalist in the London Design Museum – Designs of the Year Competition.

Material – Soudal Foam SMX

Image Credit – Joe Mud, Tobias Titz and Tommy Cehak



The Pregnant Chair was designed as an expression of the beautiful physical and emotional relationship that exists between a mother and her child. The two are both completely reliant on each other emotionally, developing a truly interconnected relationship that is evident even in their physicality.

The Pregnant Chair is a timber chair design that fits a smaller chair within the body of a full-size chair, as though the larger chair was pregnant. As with actual pregnancy and childbirth, the smaller chair can be removed from the large chair, thereby accommodating the seating needs for a mother and child.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Material – Tasmanian Oak or Spotted Gum

Production – Sydney, Australia

Image Credit – Jan Van Eyck

Available through Trent Jansen Studio



The Sign Stool 450 is fundamentally a sustainable piece of furniture design. Constructed from re-used road signs, the rubber feet and rivets are the only new materials used in the manufacture of this piece, so the burden placed on our natural resources is lessened.

The re-used road signs used to construct the Sign Stool 450 come complete with all the characteristics of their previous use, including colourful vinyl labels and the odd evidence of their life by the roadside. This not only provides character but tells the life story of this road sign, serving its public duty on the freeway.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Material – 95% reused road sign, 1.5% vinyl, 3.5% aluminium

Production – Sydney and Illawarra, Australia

Image Credit – Alex Kershaw

Available through Trent Jansen Studio



The Sign Stool Limited Edition is fundamentally a sustainable piece of furniture design. Constructed from re-used road signs, no new materials are used in the manufacture of this piece, thus the burden placed on our natural resources is lessened.

The re-used road signs used to construct the Sign Stool Limited Edition come complete with all the characteristics of their previous use, including colourful vinyl labels and the odd evidence of their life by the roadside. This not only provides character but tells the life story of this road sign, serving its public duty on the freeway.

The Sign Stool Limited Edition has been limited so that only fifty of these pieces will ever be produced.

In 2004 the Sign Stool Limited Edition was awarded the Object New Design Award.

Manufacture – Trent Jansen Studio

Material – 98% reused road sign, 2% steel

Production – Sydney and Illawarra, Australia

Image Credit – Alex Kershaw

Limited edition of 50, 12 remaining

Available through Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert