$20,000 Australian Furniture Design Award 2022 winner announced
Ashley Eriksmoen, "The Dream, or: the view from here", made from discarded school desks and chairs.
The Australian Furniture Design Award (AFDA) is a biennial award that fosters Australian designers and makers. The award offers a $20,000 prize, an invitation from Stylecraft to develop a design through to commercial production for distribution and a two-week residency program at JamFactory in Adelaide to experiment with new ideas and materials, prototype new work or explore new making processes.
This year, the National Gallery of Victoria alongside Stylecraft were pleased to announce Ashley Eriksmoen as the 2022 winner. “Her innovative and thought-provoking work upcycles domestic timber furniture, demonstrating the potential of post-consumer waste,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria. The AFDA award follows Eriksmoen winning the biennial acquisitive $20,000 Clarence Prize in 2021.
Ashley Eriksmoen’s work can currently be seen in the SELECT presentation curated by Jury Chair and The Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, National Gallery of Victoria. “Winner of the 2022 Australian Furniture Design Award, Ashley is known for her exquisite constructions that upcycle timber furniture, alerting us to the relationships between consumer waste, natural resources, deforestation and habitat destruction”, said Simone LeAmon.
“The winning work with its 47 legs and canopy that overhangs like a cresting wave, is innovative and thought-provoking design that upcycles domestic timber furniture, to demonstrate the potential of post-consumer waste”, said Simone LeAmon. “An exquisite construction, the furniture design belies a sombre yet critical message alerting us to the relationships between consumer waste, natural resources, deforestation and habitat destruction. The work implores us to consider strategies for creating sustainable new furniture designs from the wealth of resources that we already have at our disposal.”
Several views of Ashley Eriksmoen's winning piece for the 2021 Clarence Prize titled Following years of steady decline we are witnessing a period of unprecedented growth.
“Waiting for the announcement was nerve wracking as the work by the other four finalists was stunning”, said Ashley Eriksmoen. “It is a really special award. Aside from the generous cash prize, I will have an opportunity to collaborate with Stylecraft on a product design, and a two-week residency at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. Stylecraft has a strong commitment to Australian designers and is keen to do what they can to keep making strides in sustainable practice. I am so excited to be able to work with them!”
The Dream, or: the view from here is both bleak and resplendent. Eriksmoen aims to re-wild the modernist interior, challenging Cartesian notions of Dominionism over land to achieve order. The piece critiques resource intensive production-consumption-waste practices and disrupts furniture archetypes. It is constructed from discarded timber furniture; the shaped upholstery dyed with eucalyptus leaves reflects native Australian landscapes, flattening to white squares symbolising sheep and Modernism. The chaise references both poolside lounges and therapists’ couches—the user may rest easy in cognitive dissonance, wrestle with eco-anxiety, or both. Lying on the chaise, one looks overhead at the neo-natural mutant paradise, or out to the pale grid extending under their feet.
The other shortlisted ﬁnalists for AFDA 2022 were Chris Connell, Elliot Bastianon, Danielle Brustman and Trent Jansen. The competition jury comprised Simone LeAmon (Chair), The Hugh Williamson Curator for Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV; Tony Russell, Brand Director, Stylecraft; Brian Parkes, CEO, JamFactory; Ross Gardam, Designer and Creative Director, Ross Gardam; and Kirsten Stanisich, Director, Richards Stanisich.
Ashley Eriksmoen is Head of Furniture at the ANU School of Art & Design. She studied fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods before earning her MFA in Furniture Design at Rhode Island School of Design. In 2006, she received the Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to research traditional woodworking methods in Norway. Prior to arriving at the ANU in 2012, Eriksmoen was based in Oakland, California and has taught design/woodworking at California College of the Arts, College of the Redwoods, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Penland School of Craft.