Women In De­sign

How do we make ob­jects more mean­ing­ful and long-lived? That’s the chal­lenge mo­ti­vat­ing this Perth de­signer and artist.

Australian House & Garden - - News - STORY El­iz­a­beth Wilson | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Bo Wong

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.

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