Photographed by Taran Wilkhu
In the Life Through Design series, King Living explores the landscape of Australian design – both current and future – through the eyes of Australian designers, and how they interpret the Australian aesthetic in their work. In the third instalment, King Living interviews award-winning designer, Tom Fereday who founded his multi-disciplinary design studio in 2012 in Sydney, Australia after having worked extensively across Australia and Europe.
Based on the principle of honest design, Fereday strives to create enduring designs that are meaningful to people and their environment. This approach to design encouraged King Living to engage with Fereday in his first-ever collaboration with the brand, resulting in the award-winning ETO table, the first desk in the world to offer interchangeable lighting and wireless charging accessories that seamlessly integrates into a sophisticated minimal design. The unified desk series has been designed to appropriately consider how people work today, allowing people to truly customise the table to suit their needs.
The Eto Desk designed by Tom Fereday in collaboration with King Living
King Living: Do you have a signature style?
Tom Fereday: I would say I have a signature approach to design that drives each creative project outcome. Our work is founded upon the principles of honest design, developing products with nothing to hide. These founding principles drive our products and inform our work, whether it be lighting, furniture or product.
Where does your inspiration come from?
TF: A lot of inspiration comes from the materials and the manufacturing processes - coming into factories or collaborating with makers. A lot of our pieces are a collaboration, whether it’s a brand or maker and that inspiration comes from those conversations. We don’t view our work as just a design handover, I really see design projects as a relationship and the outcome being better than what either individually could achieve.
Photographed by Sarah Adamson
What do you think defines Australian design?
TF: For me, it’s a really difficult question. I think there is a common resourceful nature of Australian designers that have success, requiring products to be really well designed and made to be able for both local and international markets. I think there’s a common breed of talented designers in Australia proving that.
What do you think the future holds for Australian design?
TF: I think that the global design scene has flattened out, and there is now so much more amazing design happening in Asia-Pacific as well as areas like America or Europe as we traditionally think of. The opportunity within Australia is huge and I love the context of the location and climate of Australia. I think people are beginning to understand and get to know Australian furniture and product designers now and understand their potential.
What unique qualities do you see Australian designers can bring to the global stage?
TF: I think traditionally, there was a talent pool being lost in Australia where some of the most talented designers and engineers would go overseas. Now we’re finding more and more talented Australian designers are staying local and building design communities within Australia. I think the major benefit of that is that designers are now building design communities and building upon one another.
Do you think this pandemic will change the way people view their homes? More integrated working from home solutions etc.
TF: I think it definitely sped up the concept of working from home and really just brought to light how people live, travel to re-assess what’s appropriate today. It’s fast-forwarded a lot of processes that I believe were going to happen, a predominant area of that is certainly working from home.
If you had to articulate the Australian Design aesthetic in 3 words, what would they be?
TF: Resourceful, innovative and incredibly diverse.