NGV Rigg Design Prize

Hecker Guthrie

In 2018, the National Gallery of Victoria held a major presentation celebrating contemporary Australian interior design, featuring ten bespoke, purpose-built rooms by ten shortlisted Australian interior designers and decorators. For the Rigg Design Prize exhibition, each studio was invited to design a purpose-built interior that responded to the 2018 theme of ‘Domestic Living’. The interiors were to demonstrate how designers create interiors as forms of communication embedded with values, ideas and stories that directly engage with the cultural, historical, material and technological aspects of society.

Inspired by the one modestly unassuming object in our domestic lives that has an invisible gravitational pull, a pull that binds its occupants in space, Hecker Guthrie celebrated the ‘table’. When deconstructed, the resulting fragments are elementary; a flat surface and one or more supporting structural components. Unintentionally, our domestic lives seem to almost orbit around this one singular object; it’s the place we live (eat, drink, play, gather, converse, work, create). In all its forms, the table principally frames all our daily gestures. The story of the table is one of the subtle muse.

The primary intent of this curated setting is to conjure an emotional, and somewhat nostalgic response to space, and an individual connection. The controlled minimal palette of timber, render, paint and terracotta allows many interpretations of the table form to be visible. The vignettes created throughout, connecting the table structure and ceramic elements, remind us of our engagement with the table. Transcending the idea of the table as merely objectified furniture, the structure is stripped back to its most basic and recognisable form. Materiality and an aesthetic become secondary, and a domestic landscape constructed entirely out of the ‘table’ emerges – the table as surface, the table as support, the table as enclosure. The story of the table is a story of us.

Photography: Shannon McGrath.