DESIGN CANBERRA | Mitchel/Fuller

Nicholas is a Canberra trained furniture designer who now resides in Adelaide. He specialises in finding the perfect balance between functionality and innovative designs.  He implements a Design-Maker methodology in creating custom, limited collectable pieces that enhance the activities of everyday life. ‘Moving forward, Looking Back’ reflects the separate paths taken after Nicholas Fuller completed his training as an apprentice under Mitchel. It represents their understanding of the design and manufacture of furniture to product. See the full exhibition opening on Thursday 3rd of November, 6:00pm at CRAFT ACT, in the city. 

What inspires your designs and what are you trying to achieve through their production?

N: For me personally my design work is really inspired by pushing the making process and allowing my design to go further due to a rich understanding of this. Designers are limited by the capabilities of manufactures and furniture makers can also get stuck in a rut where all they do is make and really forget about the design process. As a designer maker this balance is fine but allows me to control the whole process. Through the production of my work I hope for it to enrich everyday living and to last for generations and hopefully become a collectable.

What do you think the key thing is in creating a good design?

N: For me the design process is a lengthy one, taken from a small thought or idea to sketches, scale models, prototypes and then full scale mock-ups before making the finial piece. In this process I continually push the design in the intended direction. It could be for a certain market or a new manufacturing process or even an exhibition. Creating your own design language is a crucial one and with this latest body of work my new path and language has been born. I think an average design and a good design comes down to research and development and hopefully a point of difference. Although I think all designers have failures it is a very satisfying feeling when you see this first thought then sitting on the floor….

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Canberra has undergone a lot of change in the last few years. How has the evolution of Canberra’s social and cultural scene changed your design practice?

N: Being born in Canberra I have seen lots of change, from new suburbs and infrastructure to change in scenes and culture. It has been interesting to see how the craft and design scene has grown in the last few years and being involved in various exhibitions in Canberra has informed my practice greatly. Now living in Adelaide I was still given amazing opportunity to exhibit in some fairly recognised exhibitions like Master Modernist icon exhibition – Maker+Designer and the upcoming Craft ACT exhibition Moving forward, looking back with Scott Mitchell and Myself. All of these opportunities is another stepping stone in the formation of my career.

What makes your work unique and truly your own?

N: I think my work is fairly unique and my own due to the designer maker style practice. Completing an apprenticeship as a fine furniture maker is a fairly rare path and then going into design courses and institutions has allowed me to hopefully separate myself and my work and find my own market and journey to follow.

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What is the best thing about being a furniture designer?

N: Being a furniture designer isn’t always so glamorous, it looks good on paper but when it comes down to it, it can be fairly challenging and very difficult at times. If it were easy everybody would be a furniture designer… Although the best thing about being a furniture designer would have to be turning my thoughts and ideas into something that someone may cherish for years to come, it’s more then just selling a piece of furniture for me in my practice, that’s only the start, it’s the whole connection made with that person.

Why did you use wood as your medium and what is the most challenging thing about working with this material?

N: I was trained as a furniture maker/wood machinist and as a material it’s so beautiful. The feeling of shaping a piece of timber or components and pushing that process is extremely satisfying, the material is still fairly temperamental even though you may have done that process a hundred times before which keeps it exciting. To be able to turn rough sawn lumber into a product or a collectable furniture piece is a skill and one that I’m always refining.

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