The TANDEM Project

A project initiated by designer, Christel Hadiwibawa (Christel H) and Laura Lay, the curator of Sydney design gallery, He Made She MadeTANDEM Project is a way of exploring how collaboration informs design.

 Launched in The Rocks Pop-Up in Sydney, the TANDEM project featured work by seven designers including  Dennis Abalos, Carlie Ballard, Tom Fereday, Christel H, Henry Pilcher and Coco Reynolds.

Launched in The Rocks Pop-Up in Sydney, the TANDEM project featured work by seven designers including  Dennis Abalos, Carlie Ballard, Tom Fereday, Christel H, Henry Pilcher and Coco Reynolds.

Seven innovative Australian design practices were invited to participate in the project where they were asked to submit one of their own individual designs but more importantly to collaborate with another practice of their choosing. This has created some interesting cross-disciplinary collaborations that have resulted in the exploration of completely new materials and forms for some of the designers.

 Coco Reynolds collaborated with Kenny Yong-soo Son of Studiokyss on the 'Prism' jewellery stand in cast bronze and marble.

Coco Reynolds collaborated with Kenny Yong-soo Son of Studiokyss on the 'Prism' jewellery stand in cast bronze and marble.

For Coco Reynolds whose turned timber 'Bead' lights have taken Australia by storm, casting bronze was initially a very foreign process. Taking a moulded material like bronze and juxtaposing it with a hexagonal form in marble Reynolds and Yong-soo Son create an interesting level of tension between the materials. For Yong-soo Son of Studiokyss, who predominantly designs jewellery and small objects, 'Prism' represented a massive change in scale but a familiarity with materials.

 Coco's recent 'Bermuda' pendant light designs for Anomoly were shown as her individual work. Light is reflected up from half mirrored bulbs onto tightly grooved triangular shapes in an Axolotyl concrete finish. 

Coco's recent 'Bermuda' pendant light designs for Anomoly were shown as her individual work. Light is reflected up from half mirrored bulbs onto tightly grooved triangular shapes in an Axolotyl concrete finish. 

 Dennis Abalos and fashion designer Haryono Setiadi collaborated on the 'Ombra' pendant light made from  digitally printed matt nylon lycra fabric that created a watercolour style effect.

Dennis Abalos and fashion designer Haryono Setiadi collaborated on the 'Ombra' pendant light made from  digitally printed matt nylon lycra fabric that created a watercolour style effect.

Sydney based designer, Dennis Abalos is well known for his work in wire but with the TANDEM Project his interest became more about the outer surface than the wire structure beneath. Exploring various lightweight fabrics on which to print the beautifully soft designs of Haryono Setiadi's Spring / Summer 2015 season, the duo came across a heavy nylon lycra fabric that kept its shape while providing enough opacity to prevent the bulb from being too prominent. The resulting lamps feature softly graduating colours across a taught seed pod -like form. Inspired by the shape of the Balloon vine and Star Anise pods, the lights combine organic colouration with a regular geometric shape. According to Abalos, the weight of the fabric was key with 190 gsm being the final choice. The mechnism to finish the covering was also a tricky element, with a simple draw string proving the best outcome. Abalos's neat solution used a yo-yo shaped base cap that allowed the excess string to be wound around the cap and concealed.

 Dennis Abalos and Haryono Setiadi chat with graphic and textile designer, Danielah Martinez at the launch of the TANDEM Project. The pendants are called 'Ombra' and the side tables' 'Trellis'. 

Dennis Abalos and Haryono Setiadi chat with graphic and textile designer, Danielah Martinez at the launch of the TANDEM Project. The pendants are called 'Ombra' and the side tables' 'Trellis'. 

 Henry Pilcher's 'Block 2' light was reworked in a collaborative effort with designer Alex Lance. A new colour palette and subtle changes to the detailing gave a modernist twist to Pilcher's well known design.

Henry Pilcher's 'Block 2' light was reworked in a collaborative effort with designer Alex Lance. A new colour palette and subtle changes to the detailing gave a modernist twist to Pilcher's well known design.

Henry Pilcher's 'Block 2' light is proof that some designs can constantly be tweaked to give a considerably different feel. In this case, the collaboration was between Pilcher and Lance, a designer who splits his time between working for Anibou, the long-standing Artek importer and his design practice. Anibou has been selling Pilcher's 'Block 2' since it's initial release in 2010 and has watched it develop an almost cult-like following. The combination of the simple vintage industrial shade and the complexity of the timber cage makes it both beautiful and highly versatile as it is stackable and can be placed in a variety of ways to direct the light in different ways.

 Henry Pilcher's 'Alonso' chair, (left) and 'Block 2' light (right). 

Henry Pilcher's 'Alonso' chair, (left) and 'Block 2' light (right). 

Henry Pilcher's individual project was a chair made from powder-coated tubular steel and marble. While the 'Block 2' light was given a subtle Dieter Rams colour makeover, the chair offered a contemporary take on Bauhaus principles. Pilcher is interested in paring back an object as much as possible to be left with a minimalist form. In the 'Alonso' chair he wanted to create a design that was unique while observing past methods and materials.

 Pilcher's solo project has strong Bauhaus overtones but its asymmetrical form and marble add a contemporary element.

Pilcher's solo project has strong Bauhaus overtones but its asymmetrical form and marble add a contemporary element.

The collaboration between industrial designer, Tom Fereday and graphic and textile designer, Danielah Martinez allowed interlocking blocks of upholstery to be transformed from plain geometric shapes to a complex landscape of abstract pattern. The fabric adds a random element that is very appealing.

 Seating components designed by Tom Fereday (back) and smaller components from the same range upholstered in Danielah Martinez' custom fabric.

Seating components designed by Tom Fereday (back) and smaller components from the same range upholstered in Danielah Martinez' custom fabric.

 Martinez' painterly fabric was designed especially for the collaboration with Tom Fereday for the TANDEM Project.

Martinez' painterly fabric was designed especially for the collaboration with Tom Fereday for the TANDEM Project.

For more on the concept behind the TANDEM Project go to the website. The exhibition is on view at the The Rocks Pop-Up: Shop 2.05, 140 George Street The Rocks, Sydney, from October 30 to November 23rd, 2014.

All photography by Cedric Tourasse.