THE ART OF DINOSAUR DESIGNS Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy’s vibrant Australian aesthetic is still going strong after 30 years
LOUISE OLSEN AND STEPHEN ORMANDY HAVE BEEN DESIGNING TOGETHER FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, AND THEIR VIBRANT AUSTRALIAN AESTHETIC HAS NEVER WAVERED. HERE, AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT THEIR NEW BOOK, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GEORGINA SAFE.
COLOUR, FORM, TACTILITY AND VITALITY are the hallmarks of Dinosaur Designs, which seamlessly bridges the boundaries between art, design and fashion. For over 30 years, collectors and design buffs alike have embraced the brand that successfully balances creativity with commercial appeal. Working predominantly in resin, designers Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy employ a vivid palette and organic forms to evoke the colours and natural wonders of the Australian ocean, flora and fauna. Inspiration for jewellery and homewares has come from coral clusters, polished river stones and tropical rainforests and also from the world of art, with other ranges referencing the colour field painting and sculptures of the 20th century. The fascination with art reflects Olsen and Ormandy’s own training as visual artists, which infuses their work with a unique creative energy. “We apply the same principles as in our art practice, but with a greater sense of freedom,” says Ormandy. “We are just as strict with ensuring things look good to us; we’ve never designed to a market, we’ve always designed to an aesthetic. We tackle each design project the way you would tackle a painting or a drawing, really following your eye and allowing those accidents and developments to happen.” »
« The result is a sublimely fluid and expressive exploration of the infinite properties of resin, realised in translucent forms that capture the distinctive qualities of Australian light. Bowls and jugs vibrate with colour as the light passes through them, and the luminosity of a glass vase or vessel is amplified for those magic hours of the day when the sun’s rays are at their most golden. Olsen and Ormandy relish the juxtaposition of synthetic materials with the touch of the human hand, resulting in modern objects that maintain the ancient hallmark of fingerprints and a pleasurable sensation to touch. Their alchemic vision to meld the worlds of art, design and business has assured them a unique and important place within Australian cultural history.
“We’ve never designed to a market, we’ve always designed to an aesthetic” —STEPHEN ORMANDY
Abridged extract from The Art of Dinosaur Designs by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy (Lantern, $79.99). Visit dinosaurdesigns.com.au.
clockwise: in the dining/living room of Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen, painting and sculpture (far right) by Stephen Ormandy; sculpture by Gemma Smith. The design duo outside their studio in Strawberry Hills, Sydney. Family snaps and memories of Olsen’s early days at art school.
clockwise from top left: in the dining/living room, sculpture by Gemma Smith; Dinosaur Designs agate and wall plates; wall sculpture by Koji Ryui. Resin spoon. Australian coast. Pinboard. ‘Flower’ platter (2015). Jewellery from Dream collection (2012). Details, last pages.