Koskela was lucky enough to be invited to exhibit at Ventura Lambrate as part of the Milan Design Fair in April this year. It was a huge honour to be selected to exhibit as Ventura Lambrata is now seen to be the hip, happening and most exciting area of the fair.
We decided to take three different versions of the Hoodie Integrated, our 2013 IDEA award winning desk that provides a quiet place to get some work done. We thought it would be the perfect vessel to showcase the ideas and values of Koskela and would give an international audience a glimpse into what makes Australian design unique.
Our first Hoodie was a collaboration with the wonderful weavers of Elcho Island. We thought it would be great to showcase the ongoing work we do with them by having them weave their traditional materials onto a wire version of the Hoodie. The Hoodie frame was welded, then patient Koskela staff flew up to Darwin with the frame as checked luggage, where a smaller plane then took it to the island. The women got all hands to contribute to weaving the large frame. Amazingly the two mother-daughter teams were able to complete this huge project in a few weeks. Finished just in time, it was again hand carried from Darwin-Sydney-Milan. The end result was filled with all the magic that we’ve seen them achieve in our Yuta Badayala collaboration and is unquestionably a uniquely Australian product.
The Hoodie Illustrated was collaboration with the talented illustrator, James Gulliver Hancock, who exhibited in the Koskela Gallery earlier this year. We developed a timber version of the Hoodie and asked James to illustrate the exterior. We loved that the illustration included his great subtle references to life in Australia.
For the third version, we wanted to take the Hoodie to its upper limits by using the finest of finishes – copper leg connectors, timber desk, and beautiful nubuck leather for the hood. No one seemed to be able to resist touching the perfectly soft leather during the exhibition. It was such a stunning combo!
Each of the hoodies encapsulated a different aspect of Koskela’s values: championing local people, celebrating local art, exploring what it is to be uniquely Australian, and developing beautifully made products.
It was a fantastic opportunity for Russel and Sasha, Koskela’s co-directors, to take Koskela out to a bigger audience and to be able to put Koskela into a global context. The sheer scale of the main fair would make it easy to be completely overwhelmed, but Russel and Sasha certainly felt that once they stepped back and looked at it all, that Koskela has created something pretty distinctive that can now, 14 years after the journey first began, stand proudly on an international stage.
It seems that we often easily assume that everything that goes on outside Australia is somehow better, when perhaps our physical isolation means that we do, indeed, develop ideas that are truly unique.