- NV What’s the first thing that came to mind when you got the brief?
- DH Having never worked with stone previously, the prospect of using a material I didn’t fully understand was quite daunting. In terms of the material, the first thing that came to mind was marble and stone used as pillars, and how these pillars had existed for thousands of years. Working with an entirely new raw material with such great cultural and historical value, my thoughts on form were how could the function of the object be realised with minimal embellishment.
- NV Were there any key challenges in working with this material?
- DH Acknowledging the gravitas of such a raw material, one of the key challenges when developing the Semper pieces was that outside of providing a function, the work needed to have an enduring aesthetic. It had to be not only structurally durable but also aesthetically durable. I explored a more experimental approach to form and function in the early stages, however it didn’t feel like the right response.
- NV What are you hoping to achieve with this design?
- DH The intention of both Semper pieces was to link both natural materials to each other. The name Semper refers to Gottfried Semper who in 1851 wrote the seminal work The Four Elements of Architecture, conceiving that a plinth exists to negotiate between a structure (sculpture) and the ground. Both planter and podium allow for the fall of leaves and petals on their platters, representing both the rise and fall of the vegetation.
Melbourne-based designer Dale Hardiman is the co-founder of furniture and homewares brand Dowel Jones and collaborative project Friends & Associates. His practice simultaneously focuses on both items of mass-production for everyday use, and singular works under his own name that focus on more conceptual ideas.
Hardiman’s keen exploration of localising the production process is manifest in his chosen materials and overall practice with Dowel Jones. Conversely for New Volumes, we invited the designer to work with ancient European stone and local craftsmen on the other side of the globe for the very first time.