Australian Design Trends


Jenny’s observations from her trip in September.


‘Design is something that every person can take part in no matter how modest. It may not involve a completely new building, but joy and a better way of life can come from the simplest things’ – Peter Maddison (Grand Designs Australia – Editor)


We are always interested in what is going on in Australia as it is a country so similar to our own in climate and new-world culture. They are at the forefront of green/sustainable initiatives, craftsmanship and innovative product design.


There are several trends in architecture and interior design we observed on our visit. The ‘Industrial’ look – concrete, exposed services and face brick – it has a very honest and rustic feeling about it which people are attracted to. Minimal and understated interiors are very popular. Easy to clean, maintain and special items of furniture or fittings stand out. As here in SA their homes are designed for outdoor living – making the most of the fantastic weather . To be be applauded is the commitment and conscious inclusion of green initiatives – it is inspiring. This is not just the implementation of technology but the strategies to reduce have become the norm.

Products and Materials

As mentioned above, there is an approach that is minimal to the design of building envelope. There is also a great deal of design investment on bespoke products and furniture. Local designers therefore thrive in an active market for locally produced items. There is a lot  of inspiring creative competition. From chairs to light fittings and  bed linen – attention is paid to the ergonomics and materials – natural materials like sustainable timber and linen are widely used (fitting into their ethos), woven techniques, textures and patterns ensure the items have a tactile quality and while mostly neutral tones are the norm bursts of colours keep it fun, funky and fresh

As with building technology environmental creatives are upcycling and design innovation includes reusing materials in innovative ways.

>>You can look forward to our feature on local South African designers and products in our December newsletter and maybe get a gift idea or two<<

Images taken from Australian ‘Home Design’( Volume 19 Number 4) and ‘Grand Designs Australia’ (Issue 5.5) & Ceramics (image 8) are done by Artist Shannon Garson