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onstantly dubbed as the less attractive sibling to its stylish southern counterparts, Queensland is finally outgrowing the ‘Big Country Town’ label and coming of age. The recent release of Hightide: Queensland Design Now showcases the work of 22 of the state’s leading design practitioners over the past ten years. Author Jason Bird, director of Luxxbox, and one part of Brisbanebased design collective Quench, reveals that now is Queensland’s design high tide – there is a line in the sand, a watermark and it was finally time to document how far the humble Sunshine State has come. Synonymous with blistering heat, sporadic thunderstorms and balmy afternoons spent on verandas and balconies, Queensland is a life lived outdoors. Majority of the book’s featured designers now base themselves permanently in Brisbane and, as Robert Forster of the Go Betweens fame prefaces, artists cannot afford to disregard their environment and it is this unique connection between the Queensland

locale and the Queensland designer that Hightide has proclaimed. Bird begins by drawing historical connections between the burgeoning Brisbane music scene of the 70s and the now flourishing Brisbane design scene, highlighting the similarities of major growth and development. Albeit forty years apart, both industries were born from geographical isolation and Bird credits the archetypal Queenslander philosophy of experimentation and ‘having a go’ as being key to the industries’ respective successes. Scattered throughout the product pages are wonderful homages to the state itself from its most adoring fans. Brisbane designer Marc Harrison speaks of Australian design as colourful and humourous, the local designers themselves as mischievous and fun. The Go Betweens Robert Forster offers Brisbane’s geographical isolation as the perfect opportunity to detach, think and create. Whilst local artisan Kent Gration declares


Queensland’s laid back attitude as the key in allowing designers to define themselves locally and internationally without the pressure of the designer spotlight. These moments, scribed beautifully and cast across the books only brightly coloured pages endear the reader to the state itself; its beautiful climate, the relaxed lifestyle and how, when all of these elements are combined, it creates the iconic Queensland designer – that which we should be celebrating. But sadly, this unique connection between genius loci and the designer is lost. This is a book about products. However, the foreword and interludes imply that you cannot celebrate one without the other – they are intrinsically connected, particularly in Queensland. As a result the designers who should be celebrated on equal footings with their creations, take a back seat to their products. David Shaw, the godfather of Queensland furniture deserves a pedestal profile, whilst KT Doyle’s historical research

Furnishing International Spring 2013  
Furnishing International Spring 2013