Friday, May 31, 2013

Enamelware that steps up to the plate

If you’re ever in Nundle, I highly recommend a visit to the stunning 120 year old Odgers and McClelland Exchange Store.

Or, if like me, you’re not planning a trip to Nundle, it’s probably better to visit the 1 year old online store.

While the site only conveys some of the store's historic charm, it certainly is the easiest pathway to view their charming country products.

Odgers and McClelland offer a range of Falcon and Romanian Enamelware products, the same that steal the show at trendy Sydney cafe ‘Kitchen by Mike’ and their Koskela showroom. It’s not always just your free range eggs or bacon that comes from the countryside – sometimes it’s the plate too.

Their enamelware range includes enamel tumblers and plates which are perfect for outdoor entertaining, picnics and camping. The range is equally popular in a domestic setting too thanks to chefs like Jamie Oliver using enamelware in cook book and magazine shoots. Enamel pie dishes and jugs add that industrial chic effect at home without having to strip your walls bare and expose your lighting and insulation. Looks aside, enamelware performs well in the oven. The glass covered steel conducts and holds heat really well, hence the popularity for baking and roasting.  

Whether you've got a weekend free to visit Nundle or a lunch break free at your desk, The Odgers and McClelland Exchange Store is a local treasure - which is no longer hidden.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


EXHIBITION “IL PIATTO FORTE” - 13th June – 14th September

Piero Fornasetti’s birth centenary celebrations continue with the exhibition “Il piatto forte”; this Italian idiom ironically points out the “Fornasetti’s special dish”, one of his most iconic creations: the plate.  Together with the plates, their original color guides will be displayed. These are true works of art on paper left by the artist for posterity, as a precise indication for them to color his creations in exactly the same way he would have done.

At the end of their visit, guests could vote for their favorite plate set and after the exhibition close s the most voted set  will be reintroduced in the current production, unless of course it is already in production.

The centenary offers the opportunity to present to the public the multitude of Piero’s creations which, being so many, are often just marginally known. In the 21 cm diameter, thirty-four separate plates with different decorations and sixty-two sets of six, eight or twelve pieces were produced. In the 23 cm diameter, one-hundred-seventy-two separate plates with different decorations and ninety-seven sets of six, seven, eight or twelve pieces were produced. In the 26 cm diameter, one-hundred-fifty-four separate plates with different decorations and one-hundred-forty-six sets of six, eight, twelve ore twenty-four pieces were produced. Round plates, excluding the  Tema e Variazioni (Theme and variations) series (more than 350 plates) add up to nearly three thousand pieces.

In the first years of production, between 1950 and 1952, most of the plates were ceramic. Later Fornasetti acquired porcelain from several companies, mostly in Germany, (Rosenthal, Arzberg, Hutschenreuther), but also Italians (Ginori e Laveno), not always of the finest quality. Fornasetti believed that the scrupulous search for the perfect material was not important; the object's true quality would be in its decoration. The plates were produced almost exclusively a coup, meaning without a rim. Fornasetti decorated rimed soup plates only on commission.

Fornasetti was fond of tables set for a meal and loved to use them as installations during exhibitions or events and were also a pretext for involving other artists, poets, intellectuals, artisans and friends. One of the best remembered was called Giornali (Newspapers) and was set up at the terrazza Martini in Piazza Diaz in Milan, a mythical panoramic site frequented by the city artists and intellectuals. That table, the one that may have had the greatest impact and visibility, was like a large newspaper cut into the shapes of a fork, glass, plate, vase, flower, tablecloth and napkin. Every object that set the table was decorated with the typographic character as though Fornasetti, once again, was trying to overturn the perception of objects and their meaning.

As time went by he conceived creations that were increasingly foreign to the vision and the apparatus of industry. “ Industrialists are always the same” Fornasetti said in a 1963 interview. “They're people who think on the basis of a popularity rating, following the television system, meaning the imbecility rating," he said.

For example, in the “Grande Antico” series, he used a highly particular technique that he had discovered almost by accident. It consisted of spotting the raw ceramic material with an acid that made the surface opaque. Then the ceramic piece was painted with pure gold that, because of the spotting, would be absorbed in a way that was not uniform. The result was a  dappled area surface that changed according to the light.

Fornasetti also drew liberally from the great archetypical subjects of the past, including astrology music, botany, zoology, numismatics, folklore and topography, using them to make his objects tell stories or fables, and narrate forgotten or invented events. In this way he gave life to countless series of plates baptized Astronomici (Astronomics), Astrolabi (Astrolabes), Strumenti musicali (Music instruments), Arcimboldesca (Arcimboldo-style), Stoviglie (Crockery), Ricette di pasta (Pasta recipes) Maschere italiane (Italian masks), Città d’Italia (Cities of Italy), Cortili (Courtyards),  Uccelli calligrafici (Calligraphic brids), Sezioni di frutta (Fruit slices), and he dedicated sets to architects, writers, navigators and musicians. Among the most famous series are Cupole d’Italia (Domes of Italy) and Specialità regionali italiane (Regional specialties of Italy), Which went into production in the late 1960s. The latter, its pieces like pages extracted from a big illustrated culinary dictionary, presented the county’s most representative delicacies with images that include the recipe in a fine hand, along with an important monument from every city. This became one of Fornasetti’s bestselling articles, thanks to their perfect fusion of art and popular culture.

Fornasetti showed a special talent for suggestion. He knew how to imbue something with character, and animate fable figures with a knowing hand, materializing distant and fantastic worlds: Le Oceanidi (Oceanids) feature visionary presences that are half human, half seashell; the Sirene  (Sirens) are urea creatures from the dark depth of the sea; and the Le Arpie Gentili (The gentle Harpies) are fantastical birds with women’s head.

More than anywhere else, Fornasetti expressed his dreamlike, visionary talents in the series of plates Città di carte (City of cards). He constructed landscapes, views of surreal cities where bridges, square, roads and palaces are imagine like an ephemeral castles of cards, fragile structures at the mercy of the slightest breeze, dependent on the mood of a child god who could scatter the queen of hearts, jack of diamonds, and ace of spades with a quick sudden gesture.

From Atelier Fornasetti, Corso Matteotti 1/a 20121 Milan. T. +39 02 89658040.


 Art-House St. Kilda is the brainchild of Melbourne-based architect Elisa Justin of Justin Architecture, in collaboration with developer Charles Justin, formerly of SJB Architects. In a time where environmental awareness is at the forefront of people’s minds, Elisa saw the market was lacking in sustainable but stylish homes, and so set to create “refined living with environmental responsibility”.

Nestled in Melbourne’s eclectically urban and ever changing St Kilda, Art-House will be created on the site of two shop dwellings - an old milliner and confectioner from the 1920’s. As part of Elisa’s idea of keeping the past, present and future connected, the facade of the apartment block will retain the look of the original building but with new artwork  mural inserted in the shopfront as a way of transferring the memory of its past use into its new re-creation

The 12 new apartments will feature a 7+star energy rating, incorporating solar panels that will cover 85% of electricity needs, rainwater collection for toilet and garden irrigation, and double glazing to increase the natural thermal performance of the building.

 The derelict building that was on the site has not also been put to constructive use. Three artists have transformed the run down house into an art installation, Fallow. This has been open for public viewing over the last few months and when the Art-House apartment building is complete, photographs of Fallow will line the walls of the lobby to keep the past and present connected.

The Art-House St Kilda apartments are now up for sale, with half already sold. For more information on the project, visit

Monday, May 13, 2013


Identifying New Designers


Identity is quite simply known as who we are. But what makes us who we are? Does society have a say in our identity? The Design Museum in London through their Residence programme, has assigned ‘identity’ as a theme to designers that have just started their career. These designers will gain both encouragement and support as they share their designs with the world.

This is the sixth year the Design Museum has run this programme; designers will demonstrate their passion for design by conveying identity through an object or experience.

Below are the list of designers each with their own project, research and identity. They focus on what identity is and what shapes our identity.

    Adam Nathaniel Furman. Adam will explore identity through globalised mass culture and how it is ever-changing and often quite puzzling. He conveys his conclusions through blogs, objects and film. The latest trend of 3D films can be seen in his recent work on 3D printing. However, keeping up with trends does not mean that Adam loses his passion or identity. Through traditional ceramics, he reflects his love for architectural history, theory and speculative architecture.



Eunhee Jo. Technology has progressed from a luxury to a necessity. Often the need for technology reflects the majority of society rather than our identity. Eunhee aims to develop new surfaces made of fabric or paper that are embedded with none other than, technology. However, she intends to use this technology to create a light and Hi-Fi system that reflect the new found possibilities in turning everyday objects that can have artistic qualities.

Chloe Meineck. Chloe approaches identity from a psychological aspect. She is focusing on developing a Memory Box. This will assist sufferers of dementia and memory loss. After all it is our memories that shape and affect our identities. This is a great tool for people with a confused sense of fading memory and identity. It serves as a reminder for what we were to what we have become.

Thomas Thwaites. The internet began as a confusing little gadget but has now progressed to people thinking more about their identity with the rise of social networks. Thomas examines how the internet could boost consumer knowledge and inform people about their identity and traits. His project will be an interactive webpage that will act as a ‘self help book’ aiding people to reflect or (if they desire) to change their personality and identity.

Their carefully thought out works will be on display at the Design Museum in September.