The design of refined products that are of value to people has always been the overarching intent of designer Ross Gardam. He leads an eponymous studio of designers, engineers and makers in Melbourne, developing his furniture and feature lighting business from a solo venture 13 years ago to a team of eight today. Ross Gardam studio has been a leader in manufacturing locally for over a decade, and will continue on this path.
The studio’s process involves a high level of rigour. Explains Ross, “[P]rocesses typically incorporate a number of non-emotional considerations to ensure each product has value; for example analysing the intent of use, manufacturing processes, disciplined material use, and ergonomics. The pursuit of the new is something we constantly dance with.”
But increasingly, his interest is in the non-tangibles that sit within the design process. “The space that sits between the object and user is always a point of inspiration. Tuning these small interactions – be that through touch, movement or light – to elicit an emotional response is the basis of my practice,” he says.
Exhibiting has been crucial to the development of his business. One of his first exhibitions (in 2008) was with Indesign Media’s Launch Pad program. Showings in Milan from 2016 boosted his international reach, and since 2017 the US market has also been a focus. “Design in itself, and particularly Australian design, has become increasingly valued,” says Ross. “Bringing our own unique contemporary Australian design to an international market has been a big part of our business over the past five years. Working in the US and Europe while staying consistent with our identity and messaging has been important to our success.”
Photography of Ross Gardam by Haydn Cattach, Ora (2018) and Hemera (2019) by Haydn Cattach, Adapt Lounge Collection (2019) by Mr P, Nebulae (2019) and Place (2020) by Haydn Cattach.