Women In Design
How do we make objects more meaningful and long-lived? That’s the challenge motivating this Perth designer and artist.
WA artist Penelope Forlano makes works of large scale and deep significance.
Sustainability and storytelling are the driving forces for Perth designer and public artist Penelope Forlano. Her focus is on producing long-lasting objects with inherent heirloom qualities. “I’m interested in how design can encourage people to take care of objects,” she says. “How can design promote the intergenerational transfer of objects and ideas of custodianship?”
It’s a brilliant question. For Penelope, part of the answer lies in finding “ways of integrating a narrative into a product”. This was the impetus for her En_Case line of modular furniture. Using low-cost, sustainable materials, she designs bespoke pieces and engraves them with subtle designs that resonate with her clients. For one family, she adorned a sideboard with scenes of London; for another, she engraved a piece with a stylised Hong Kong skyline. “It’s about the storytelling ability of objects and how, by engaging with clients, we can create objects that are more meaningful,” she says.
In tandem with her furniture commissions, Penelope is also busy with ambitious public art installations, inspired by the challenge to create “lasting, engaging and memorable” works.