Di­nosaur De­signs looks back on 30 years of style

The leg­endary de­sign house con­tin­ues to evolve, writes Jen­nifer Veer­huis

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - jen­nifer.veer­huis@news.com.au

It was a bold move to take a prod­uct best known in the surf­board and boat­ing in­dus­tries and mould it into jew­ellery and home­wares.

But that’s what Di­nosaur De­signs did with resin in its early days and it’s been a main­stay for the com­pany ever since.

Stephen Or­mandy and Louise Olsen, the cre­ative force be­hind Di­nosaur De­signs, first met at art school more than 30 years ago. Their new book The Art Of Di­nosaur De­signs de­tails how they dis­cov­ered a shared love of art and de­sign and, with an­other stu­dent, Liane Rossler, started selling hand­made colour­ful jew­ellery and tex­tiles at Sydney’s Padding­ton Mar­kets.

Di­nosaur De­signs opened its first store in 1989 in The Strand Ar­cade and to­day the busi­ness has grown to eight re­tail stores across three con­ti­nents.

Risks with resin

Louise and Stephen con­tinue to lead the com­pany’s de­sign and they work with a range of ver­sa­tile ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing sil­ver, cop­per and glass, but it’s resin which con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate.

In their book, they de­scribe resin as hav­ing a “won­der­ful vis­cous flu­id­ity that al­lows us to cross the bound­aries of sculp­ture and paint­ing”.

They have used it to cre­ate much of their home­wares and jew­ellery, such as vases, salad servers, bowls and jugs.

While some prod­ucts are made by ar­ti­sans over­seas, all their resin prod­ucts are made by hand in Aus­tralia.

“Even af­ter work­ing with the ma­te­rial for as long as we have, we still find new op­por­tu­ni­ties and find new ways to play with it,” says Stephen.

“We’ve been one of the pi­o­neers of resin and its use in de­sign world­wide.

“We’ve been work­ing with it and ex­plor­ing it for 30 years now.”

Vive the evo­lu­tion

While Di­nosaur De­signs is con­tin­u­ing to grow, with a sec­ond store in New York open­ing and prod­ucts soon to be avail­able through on­line lux­ury fash­ion re­tailer Net-A-Porter, Louise says they have con­tin­ued to evolve as well.

“We’ve got to know resin re­ally well now,” says Louise. “We are able to do so much more to it and p push it that bit fur­ther than we ever have be­fore.

“Now we’re de­sign­ing pieces of fur­ni­ture and larger-scale pieces and sculp­tures.” Hold­ing the public’s in­ter­est over a long pe­riod of time is a rare skill and Louise be­lieves the key is hav­ing a new story to tell with each col­lec­tion.

Na­ture is a big source of in­spi­ra­tion and their new­est col­lec­tion is ti­tled Fo­liage, with ev­ery­thing to do with trees ev­i­dent in their pieces.

“I treat each col­lec­tion like a new vis­ual story that in­cor­po­rates peo­ple’s own par­tic­i­pa­tion, as they wear it or use it in their home,” Louise says.

“We al­most see our pieces as home­ware jew­ellery be­cause you’re dec­o­rat­ing the home. We have such as vast col­lec­tion, I think there’s al­ways some­thing about Di­nosaur De­signs that peo­ple en­joy.”

Against the ma­chine

Stephen says they ap­pre­ci­ate the fans who love their work. “I think they feel the sense of ad­ven­ture with what we’re do­ing,” he says. “That very soft, or­ganic feel talks to pp peo­ple. It doesn’t look like some­thingg out of an in­dus­trial­ma­chine­madein­dus­trial ma­chine made with

math­e­mat­i­cal per­fec­tion.”

More The Art Of Di­nosaur De­signs, Lantern, $79.99

Stephen and Louise’s Bronte home is an ex­plo­ration of their ideas as well as a show­case for their art col­lec­tion.

While they are best known for work­ing in resin, Stephen and Louise love creat­ing or­ganic forms like these in gold, sil­ver, brass and cop­per.

Beau­ti­ful resin salad servers have proven pop­u­lar with home­own­ers and have been a con­stant in col­lec­tions over the years.

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