Published on : Friday, July 25, 2014
The perpetual Ian Howard International Pavilions for Emerging Designers Award was announced at the Australian Furniture Industry Awards on Saturday 12 July as part of the Festival of Furniture. Upon receiving his inaugural Australian Furniture Industry Master award, Mr Howard, founder of the internationally recognised Aristoc Industries, made the announcement of the perpetual prize to secure a global platform for emerging Australian designers.
He explained his reasons for establishing the bursary:- ‘We built a very successful furniture business based primarily on “design”, admittedly with the added essentials of manufacturing quality and good service. I am not a designer but I was fortunate from the outset to be constantly exposed and associated with many of the renowned designers in Australia, including William Oyston, Grant Featherston, Fred Lowen and the successful designers whom I worked with as a member of the Industrial Design Council of Australia.’
And as Aristoc Industries’ former managing director, and head of product development, Ian Howard can speak confidently about the opportunities that can arise from such international exposure.
During the 12 years through 1968 Aristoc manufactured and marketed some 30 furniture products designed by Grant Featherston, including the now famous Expo 67 chairs in collaboration with his wife Mary.
Of these products The Industrial Design Council Australia (IDCA) accredited 14 chairs and 9 other products for incorporation in The Australian Design Index as examples of ‘Good Design’.
The “Expo Talking Chair” was made especially for the event. The chairs were seen and used by over 30 million people passing through the main pavilion at the Montreal World Exposition in 1967 where they were located.
The concept developed by Robin Boyd, the Curator and Interior Architect for the project, was for a chair which would provide a personal, intimate atmosphere and at the same time exclude outside noise.
‘Mr Howard’s Aristoc was always at the forefront of design and innovation and it is only fitting that this perpetual international prize be synonymous with his name and his legacy,’ says Patrizia Torelli, CEO of the Australian Furniture Association.
‘The collaboration between businesses, designers, manufacturers and government at the time, is the model we hope to replicate for our very first global delegation 2015. It is consistent with the strategic direction of our national association and the industry as a whole,’ she said.
Emerging designers will be selected from the 2014 Australian Furniture Industry Awards nominees and winners. A carefully chosen delegation will exhibit as a collective under the banner of Australian Furniture Industry – Ian Howard International Pavillions for Emerging designers.
‘We have been approached by several countries to exhibit at the most prestigious of international exhibitions and will spend the next few weeks identifying the most appropriate first platform for our talented Australians,’ states Ms Torelli.
‘Now is the perfect time for action – the furniture customer is more sophisticated – and will buy the best, particularly with a brand name. Let us travel, absorb international design activities, work to acquire skills in manufacturing processes and new materials, then sit down and produce some of that well documented Australian latent talent and ability to create new ideas and new uses of materials,’ he said.
‘Mr Howard’s patronage adds tremendous credibility and status to this international program and we can only imagine how inspired they will feel to be aligned with this truly remarkable Australian. This will certainly highlight that Australian furniture is for every room in the world!’ concluded Ms Torelli.