It's always exciting to stumble across a studio whose work you find interesting and innovative but when you discover that they are also from your own country, it sparks a strange, almost nationalistic delight. So it was with Studio Truly Truly. Design daily prides itself in being relatively up-to-date with what is going on in the design world - particularly Australian design but from time to time we have to admit that we have been somewhat slow off the mark.
When D.d first came across Studio Truly Truly just a few months ago at an exhibition called Envisions Products in Process at Ventura Lambrate in Milan, I was already a convert but shortly after I saw the Dutch Invertuals Advanced Relics exhibition which they contributed to and designed and I wondered how it was possible to be oblivious to designers from my own country who were producing such amazing work.
The husband and wife team of Joel and Kate Booy attended the Griffith University Queensland College of Art and also taught typography there but were drawn to the Dutch institution, Design Academy Eindhoven where design is taught in a distinctly different way to most design schools, focusing heavily on process and exploration.
Having both undertaken degrees at Design Academy Eindhoven, the duo started Studio Truly Truly in 2013 at the tail end of their Eindhoven degrees. While working from their studio in an art complex in Eindhoven which houses over one hundred and fifty small studios, they were visited by representatives from Ikea on a talent scouting mission. To their great surprise Studio Truly Truly were one of seven studios visited and they were selected to start a process of meetings with the Swedish homewares giant and this eventually led to a textile collection for the company. Since then the studio has left the small town of Eindhoven and relocated to Rotterdam.
Joel and Kate are starting to kick some major goals both at the commercial level with a new sofa design for the Ikea PS range and in the realm of exhibition design. There have also been some amazing collaborations with organisations like Tilburg's revered Textile Museum. The PS sofa seems to still be under wraps but the 'Translation' throw from the 'Plaid' collection produced through a workshop with Hella Congeries at the Textile Museum can be seen below. The throws are available to purchase from the museum here.
"I didn't know Studio Truly Truly (until the Tilburg project) but I have my whisperers if you like and I learnt that their work has a wonderful signature - it's graphically interesting with a kind of natural beauty"
While commissions like creating a sofa for Ikea are something of a dream come true for any designer with an open mind to mass production, Studio Truly Truly generally delve deep into process before considering the look of an item. For their recent 'Levity' collection of floor and pendant lights the studio explored flexible LED rope lights and how best to utilise them. The results are spectacularly free and immediate - a loop of glowing textile on a simple metal structure.
The minimal and poetic 'Levity' collection of flexible lights appears to have its light source drawn in the air. An LED source is enclosed within a flexible loop which hangs freely in one version while in others it drapes across a steel frame. The light permeates a woven textile exterior sleeve, adding softness. The 'Levity' collection comes in four variations: a standard floor light, a tall floor light, a fixed pendant and a free pendant.
Studio Truly Truly invited the Japanese animator Hideki Inaba to create a work inspired by the 'Levity' forms and this is available to view here.
Studio Truly Truly's interesting work in lighting started in 2010 with their fascinating 'Dark Matter' collection - a series of lights inspired by images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The mysterious images of a planet with a surface of black spots led to a number of interpretations in wall lights, several pendants and a block-like table light. The Dark Matter light collection was nominated for the Rene Smeets Prize (most professional project) at the Design Academy Eindhoven 2014 Graduation show.
A short film by Joel Booy on the 'OTI Dark Matter' lights can be viewed here.
One of my favourite furniture projects by Studio Truly Truly are their 'Fuse' cabinets which allow the natural edges of timber planks to be accentuated by black resin (below). The cabinets mix marble and basalt powder with resin which becomes the visible 'glue' for the cedar boards. The resulting object has a strong graphic presence with the wobbly lines of the cabinet's exterior in sharp contrast with the geometric zig-zags created on the front face.