Sydney industrial designer Henry Wilson recently won Australia’s richest design prize – the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award. Selected from 10 finalists, Wilson receives $30,000 towards the commercialisation of his is a sand cast, incredibly strong, multi-use joinery system that makes it possible to unite standardised, multi-sized, pre-dimensional timber in up-to 4 different configurations within a sturdy A-frame structure. Easy to recycle and produce, the joint is limitless in its potential uses. From tables and benches to market stalls, shop fit-out and temporary housing. The A-Joint is a¬†highly flexible object using pre-dimensioned timber without the need for nails or glue to form multiple configurations and dynamic usages. Seeing a couple of the suggested configurations in-store you see just what Wilson is getting at when he speaks of his design ethos. ¬†Wilson is currently producing his first run of the joint, that has been previously exhibited in bronze and polished aluminium at INTERPRETATIONS during Sydney Design Festival in August, and at MATILDA-DESIGN during the London Design Festival.
The first time I entered was straight out of design school, Canberra’s ANU School of Art and I graduated with a piece from my honours that I put straight into the awards then. I achieved a really good result, but the piece was really unresolved, it was something I suppose a student would come up with but still had some growth to it. From there, I kept entering and went down the path of a few lights and I recently entered last year with another light and I’m really trying to change the perception of how we consume, and what we consume, and the industrialisation of what we consume. Can you tell us a little about the process you underwent with the A-Joint table?
So the A-joint is really a celebration of standardisation. The table is one particular thing you could perceivably make with the A-Joint. Basically, it unites pre-dimensional lumber. Lumber throughout the western world or the developing world is of two main dimensional sizes, 90 by 45 and 70 by 35 and the A-Joint has provisions for both of these to make a structure so you can use dry joinery, no screws, no glue. You can take it apart and you don’t damage any of the wood, you can reuse the wood in many different combinations – legs, tops and tables. You can really make whatever you like, it really is an inclusive rather than exclusive furniture system.
How would you describe your aesthetic and approach to design?
I’m a big believer in this idea of honesty in design. I think that once that truth is taken care of, you can also fall back or rely on that conceptual idea of ‘how do I have to make this to make it work? Do I cut that back or cut this back, and then what ends up with the most honest structure? What’s got to be there, what doesn’t have to be there, how can this resolve itself?’ That doesn’t strictly mean that everything is going to look very functional or utilitarian but it does mean that honesty and beauty can come across in an ornate way. The way something just resolves itself with the flaws of the materiality or gravity, which I find fascinating, something I really love working with.
Given you’ve just won, what are your plans for the near future?
I’m going to continue working on the A-joint. I’ve been approached by several universities ¬†who want to use it in their exhibition stands, setups and this is an ideal use for this kind of joint – flexible uses for different types of industry, like farmer’s markets. I really want to see it get out amongst the people and see how they can start to use it, so one of the plans is to get it into production which I’m doing in Australia at the moment.
Which design fair would you like to exhibit the A-joint?
I’m really interested in Design Miami. I lived in Europe for a while (Wilson has a Masters in Man and Humanity from the Design Academy, Eindhoven) so I was fortunate enough to go to the Milan Fair, and London. I just feel that the American design scene is strange, and I don’t really understand it ‚Ä¶ it has a really high end, and some muddy middle-ground and a lot of consumer base and I just think it will be a really interesting thing to go and see first hand.
READ EARLIER POST ON TRENT&HENRY POP UP STORE _ HERE
The Trent & Henry pop-up store and studio