We're celebrating 15 years of impactful collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists!

In 2024, we proudly commemorate 15 years of lighting collaborations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, sparking a profound sense of nostalgia within the business. Since 2009, our lighting collections have served as a testament to the intricate and diverse Indigenous weavings that flourish within Australia.

These collaborations not only celebrate Indigenous cultural practices but has also provided a platform for weavers to earn income while introducing unique artistic products into modern interiors. Each pendant is a labour of love, meticulously handwoven with locally sourced materials, reflecting a deep connection to the land and traditional techniques.  

As we reflect on our journey thus far, we celebrate the milestones along the way, showing that even when you're a small Australian business from humble beginnings, you can achieve big things.  

In 2009, we unveiled our first woven light collection, Yuta Badayala (Beautiful Light), a lasting collaboration with the talented weavers of #ElchoIslandArts.  This project, close to our hearts, marked the beginning of enduring friendships and a partnership that has spanned 15 years—surviving cyclones, changes in management, and life's many milestones.

Yuta Badayala was born out of our commitment to provide Indigenous weavers with additional income opportunities and to introduce captivating 'art products' into modern interiors. We believe strongly in using our design skills to address social issues. Each light is a unique expression of the artist's interpretation, with no replica production involved.

“Koskela came to us with the idea of doing our weaving on lampshades. I was interested in this new idea. I thought it would be interesting to take our traditional Yolngu materials and use them on Balanda objects. We all thought this would be a good way to show a new audience what can be done by Yolngu artists with materials from the bush”. — Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr, a  senior weaver from Elcho Island, who now has since passed away.


Our Tili Wiru (Beautiful Light) lighting range, was born in 2012, following the success of our Yuta Badayala project. This collaboration with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers showcases the traditional craftsmanship of Tjanpi, incorporating their vibrant creativity, unique colours and designs. Each lampshade in Tili Wiru is a one-of-a-kind creation, with the weaver's vision woven onto the frame. Handwoven from a collection of local grasses (tjanpi), the pendants are particularly vibrant due to their use of bold colour, beads and feathers, features traditionally found in Tjanpi work. The Tjanpi pendant lights exude joy and add character to any space.


Koskela with the weavers from Elcho Island Arts was one of 7 Australian designers selected to enter a significant body of work in the 2015 Rigg Design Prize exhibited at NVG Melbourne. It was an honour to be in the company of 6 amazing Australian designers. Tears were certainly shed by us and the amazing artists from Elcho when we walked into the area where our work was exhibited. It was breathtaking to see Yolngu woven work on such a scale and placed in a contemporary design context. A great honour and milestone.

In 2015 the restaurant Noma announced it was coming for a 10-week pop up in Sydney, and wanted to commission Koskela to create a unique art piece with Australian Indigenous artists that would take pride of place in the pop up restaurant. Working with the Yulngu weavers, we created the concept for a three-dimensional wall sculpture and constructed the frame. Seven Indigenous women wove a panel each. They were Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr, Judy Manany, Margaret Dhorrpuy, Ruth Lulwarriwuy, Megan Djuramalwuy Yunupingu and Helen Gatjikin. 


In 2016, we unveiled yet another beautiful lighting collection in collaboration with the talented artists at @milingimbiartandculture. Named "Yutu Dugitj," which translates to "grow together," this name was chosen by the artists for their lampshade project as it speaks to the young and senior artists working together. Crafted from locally sourced materials such as Pandanus, Raffia, and Bush string, each piece is meticulously handcrafted and dyed with natural pigments, resulting in rich earthy hues of red and yellow. 


We began our ongoing collaboration with the artists from Bula Bula Arts in 2018 with the Gurrwilinywirriy Mundan (bush string) collection. These lampshades are made with traditional Bush string; handmade from the fibres between the bark and the trunk of the Kurrajong tree. Once harvested, the fibres are dyed with roots, barks, leaves or fruits. They are then rolled into this strong, symmetrical handmade string and woven and knotted using techniques which originally bound together traditional Yolngu objects such as string bags and fishing nets.

The weavers of Bula Bula Arts, Ramingining, in North East Arnhem Land usually create traditional ceremonial and ritual objects, working together as a group to harvest materials and develop work. This lighting collaboration with Koskela was one of the first times the weavers embraced making objects which are not traditional yolngu objects and the strength of their identity as late career Yolngu Artists is distilled in these lampshades.


In 2018 we delivered one of our most inspiring projects to date at Westpac HQ in Sydney. The concept and design of the Reflection Pods was developed by Lucy Simpson (@gmiyay), a proud Yuwaalaraay woman and the Director of Gaawaa Miyay Designs. She conceived three immense handwoven structures to provide sanctuary in the bustling open-plan workplace. Geyer Design, who designed the Westpac fit out, approached Koskela to bring Simpson’s concept to life.

Koskela designed the structures and artists from Elcho Island Arts and Milingimbi Art and Culture wove the steel frames. In total 21 First Nations artists worked on the project, harvesting the raw materials from the bush, treating them, and weaving by hand. The process took three months to complete. Now the centrepiece of the workplace, the Reflection Pods function exactly as intended while also being an incredible piece of art that celebrates culture and community.


In 2019, to celebrate a decade of First Nations design collaboration, Koskela embarked on an ambitious lighting project with six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres. Called Ngalaya, which is the Dharug language word for together, the project involved Bula Bula Arts, Durrmu Arts, Milingimbi Art and Culture, Moa Arts, Tjanpi Desert Weavers and the Ngarrindjeri Cultural Weavers. The lighting designs highlighted the incredible fibre artistry of First Nations weavers, who have embraced applying their traditional cultural practices to new and modern mediums. Ngalaya was selected from over 4,500 total entries from 87 countries to be in the top five shortlist for the Dezeen Awards 2019! Many of the lights are available as part of Koskela’s permanent lighting collection today.


Kapu Minaral (Beautiful Colours) was launched in 2020 and is a special collaboration between Moa Arts and Koskela. This beautiful range of lighting is filled with the colour and exhilaration of the beautiful Torres Strait. Artistic inspiration is drawn from ancestral stories, totemic representation and connections to sea, land, sky and family. Artists do not have to look far to be inspired. The island and its surrounding waters and reefs provide a highly diverse set of land and marine ecosystems with niches for many rare or unique species such as Dugong and Sea Turtles. Koskela gives complete artistic freedom to the artists and is never prescriptive, allowing the weaver to determine what is woven on every frame. Each lampshade is a unique piece and often features local seedpods, shells, native fibres, rope and raffia, which embody and hold the country in them.

Paula Savage, artist and respected member of Moa Arts says: “This lampshade represents all hopes and dreams of my people. Each colour describes different generations after generations of Moa Island.” — Paula Savage


In 2021, Ernst and Young (EY) enlisted Koskela, in collaboration with Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini (NGKM), to bring to life the concept of celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through art. Together, we created Iuk - a bespoke lighting piece inspired by the significance of the eel trap in traditional Koorie practices.

NGKM is a collective of First Nations artists, particularly supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and trans-diverse artists in Victoria. Grounded in culture, NGKM fosters the continuation of traditional practices in contemporary art. The name Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini, meaning Mother Aunty Sister Daughter, reflects the collective's roots.

Continuing our collaboration in 2022, we partnered with NGKM once again to produce pendant lights for a special collaboration with T2 Tea. Crafted from raffia and textile waste, these vibrant pendants showcase beautiful colours and intricate details, each one a unique expression of its artist.


The Mirii (Star) lighting range by the weavers of Yinarr Maramali was launched in 2023, and is our first NSW-based lighting collaboration which builds on the success of the Yuta Badayala, Tili Wiru, Yuttu Dugitj and Kapu Minaral collaborations. The lighting range is entitled Mirii which means ‘star’ in Gomeroi language (Gomeroi Country extends across NSW and Southern QLD).

“We wove these pendants and named them Mirii after the stars in the sky. Our weaving holds our stories and these pendants honour the important Gomeroi star Stories. Our stories tell us that the night sky and our Country are reflections of each other. Everything that exists on Gomeroi Country must exist in the sky. These woven Mirii (stars) connect these two worlds together” - Yinarr Maramali

The artists use native Lomandra grass and emu feathers to bring their Mirii designs to life. The woven lamps are considered as 'living' art pieces as the grass will naturally change colour over time from a deep green to a natural sandy yellow. 


In 2023, we unveiled two remarkable floor lamp designs. The Ku:yitaipari (Fish Trap) Floor Lamp, inspired by our Ngalya collection from 2019, pays homage to the traditional craft of Ngarrindjeri Cultural weavers: Aunty Ellen Trevorrow, Aunty Noreen Kartinyeri, and Bessie Rigney. These luminous vessels of light, shaped like fish traps, are meticulously woven from freshwater sedge grasses, symbolising the unity of creation. Additionally, we introduced a new standard Koskela lamp base design, allowing our standard pendants to be seamlessly added to a floor lamp base.

Crafted from iconic Australian sandstone, the base of the fish trap floor lamp reflects our commitment to local materials deeply rooted in our nation's identity. This choice honours our rich geological heritage and reinforces our dedication to sustainable craftsmanship. 

How it works: Koskela designs the steel frames but doesn’t interfere in the artists’ interpretation of them. The First Nations weavers harvest natural fibres, which are dried and dyed to create the woven materials. Koskela’s frames become the weavers’ canvases, and each one is uniquely interpreted. When they arrive back in Sydney, they are wired as pendants and available for Koskela customers to purchase in-store or online.

At Koskela, our commitment to nurturing and supporting this artistic development knows no bounds, with collaborations extending across 14 Indigenous art centres and continuing to grow.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who have accompanied us on this remarkable journey. Thank you for being an integral part of our story.