Tiny, foldable perspex houses win $30k design prize

Sydney-based industrial designer Adam Goodrum has taken out the $30,000 Rigg Design Prize for 2015. The prize is one of Australia’s wealthiest and is awarded triennially to a contemporary Australian designer from an invited group of participants. In 2015, the previously Victorian prize became national for the first time.

Seven designers were chosen to contend for the prize which is now curated by the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria.

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Goodrum’s winning work, Unfolding, is inspired by the concept of a flatpack house made of panels – an idea he first explored in a cardboard shelter that could be dropped out of a helicopter in an emergency, which exhibited at Australia’s Parliament House during the Canberra Biennial a decade ago. The fold-out shelter survived a mini-cyclone during the three-week installation.

For the Rigg Design Prize, Goodrum presents a new interpretation of a foldable house. The design comprises a series of three miniature houses, each made with transparent acrylic panels that have been coated with dichroic film. The film splits the light spectrum, which allows the transparent objects to cast colourful shadows onto the gallery walls.

Adam Goodrum's Unfolding for the 2015 Rigg Design Prize at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Adam Goodrum’s Unfolding for the 2015 Rigg Design Prize at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Unfolding represents a new expression of my practice and my continued exploration of the idea of ‘unfolding,’” Goodrum said.

The prizes international judges, Wava Carpenter (former curator of Design Miami) and Gijs Bakker (co-founder of Droog Design) described the design as “very exciting, pushing the boundaries of what design can be with its dreamy, hazy and poetic atmosphere.”

Other designers who are participating in the 2015 prize are: furniture designer and timber craftsman Khai Liew who exhibited a range of timber furniture; design duo Daniel Emma whose exhibition presents a body of work curated in a lounge and dining setting; Victorian designer Kate Rohde with her riotously colourful take on a Rococo dining setting with zoomorphic furniture and objects; London-based Brodie Neill with his Made in Ratio collection; Korban/Flaubert and their collection of large-scale metal sculptures; and Koskela in collaboration with Elcho Island Arts who produced a series of domestic furniture made with woven pandanus leaves by the Indigenous weavers in the Northern Territory.

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The Rigg Design Prize was established in 1994, with the support of the Cicely and Colin Rigg Bequest. The selected designers may choose to exhibit work specially designed for the prize and exhibition or a body of work from their practice representing contemporary Australian design across a broad spectrum of mediums, object types and material explorations.

The 2015 prize has been curated by Simone LeAmon – a past winner of the prize in 2009. All seven designers’ works are on exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria until 7 February 2016.

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