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.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Contents - VL

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.

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