09 September 2020

An Interview with Ross Gardam

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With a successful brand legacy spanning thirteen years, Ross Gardam really needs no introduction.

Known for his convention-defying designs which encourage interaction and reflection; Ross spoke to us about what spurred him to establish his own brand, his take on the current design climate and what’s on the horizon for his Melbourne-based studio.

Learn more about Ross Gardam at rossgardam.com.au

“This level of refinement within the industry has been really exciting.”

How did you get started?
I’ve always had more of an interest in making than design, which led me to study Industrial design at Monash University, majoring in furniture design. From there I worked in various interior firms as a designer in both Melbourne and London. After working in the industry for a number of years, I wanted the ability to follow my passion for product design and have more control over my own destiny. These were my two main calls to start my own business. So, in 2007 I decided to start my own firm.

How do you think the Australian Design Industry has evolved since you began?
Australian Design has matured a lot over the last ten to fifteen years. We’ve seen a huge growth in the popularity of design; we have more firms operating and more emerging talent which is exciting. With this, there’s also been a growing preference from architects and interior designers towards Australian made and designed products; so, product designers have invested the time and work required to craft truly refined products. In our case we’ve spent up to two years in design development before a product has been ready for launch. This level of refinement within the industry has been really exciting.

Is there a particular product within your range that really exemplifies what your brand?
Good question, I would say the Ora Desk Lamp – it’s simple in many ways but has many interesting and intricate attributes too. It’s a large desk lamp, in either gold or black, with a shade that you can move and rotate. It has this magnetic joint that allows it to articulate and orbit around, which creates a beautiful lighting effect. The interesting thing about the product, when you put aside the materials and the aesthetics, is how people interact with it. When people get an understanding of how it works, how it moves, there’s always a sense of wonder which I think is what our brand is about. We’re trying to create moments of joy through experiential objects that defy convention.

Learn more about the Breeze Dining Table

Learn more about the Breeze Coffee Table

Any favourite projects?
There’s a number of projects we’ve worked on where the design was a beautiful framework for our products. I was in contact with a designer this morning who has just installed the largest version of a chandelier we do. We’re excited to see the photos of this particular piece in the finished space. We also see our products tagged in projects on Instagram all the time. A lot of the time this is the first interaction we’ve had with project, so it’s a welcome surprise to see them in these beautiful spaces.

How do you approach collaborations with design studios?
I’m busy squirreling away in the studio working on my own product, so we haven’t done a lot of collaborating to date. However, every time I do it’s been really rewarding. We’re a small business with a number of designers, engineers and makers so we definitely could take on some more project specific work. We’ve designed some new products, the Ceto lighting range for example, that are modular pieces. It would be really interesting to work with architects and designers to set some modularity and see what kinds of configurations we can create.

Quality design feels more important than ever, has the market evolved over your time in the industry?
I would say our client base is pretty design savvy. They’ve definitely got an understanding of design, and their own distinctive styles. They’re interested in interiors broadly but also how products are made, the quality of materials and where these are sourced from. I would say they are really well informed from the design perspective.

What’s next?
We’ve just released three large collections for us; a commercial light system called Place, the modular CETO lighting range and the Breeze table collection. We’re really excited about Breeze as it’s the first furniture piece to cross over into this space of light, shadow and surface. We pushed the limits of form and materiality, and the final product is more than I had envisaged –it’s really refreshing to design something like it. It’s been challenging finding the right time to launch our new products in the current context. We are looking forward to being able to share these new exciting pieces in person soon as time permits!

Learn more about the Breeze Side Table

Learn more about the Breeze Coffee Table

Learn more about the Adapt Pivoting Table

Learn more about the Adapt Universal Table

Learn more about the Polar 450

Learn more about the Ora Desk Lamp

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