Handcrafted Lamp Giveaway
A few years ago, after 20 years of designing and producing handmade furniture and lighting in North Melbourne, Pierre and Charlotte Julien relocated to a remote studio in Tasmania’s east. Each piece that Pierre + Charlotte hand craft is made to last and sustainability informs every aspect of their artistic process. We’ve partnered with them to giveaway a timeless table lamp to one lucky person. To enter, simply fill out the form to your right.
Mathew Bate: Moving to Tasmania seems to have been a pivotal moment for you two. What were you doing before the move and have you always worked with wood?
Charlotte Julien: Pierre and I arrived from Paris in early 1993 and we had our first exhibition in 1994 at Craft Victoria called 'Simplement'. We have been designing and making furniture and lighting ever since. In Paris we worked in a variety of industries: film set design and décor; music; antique restoration and fashion - all of which has had an influence on our work.
What spawned the move to Tasmania?
The landlord of our North Melbourne studio decided to sell the property. Initially we were devastated. We had established a great studio, working with like-minded employees who were fully engaged and interested in their work, achieving a high level of craftsmanship. After much reflection we thought that the time was right for a change. We were looking for a better work-life balance and for a bit more creative freedom. We wanted to be in a situation where we could be flexible with our work commitments enabling us to spend more time with family – in Tasmania and Paris.
Can you explain your design approach?
Our design approach has always been a bit unconventional, which is probably due to our lack of formal education in design. We start by drawing but we usually want to see something three dimensional so we move quickly to making shapes in either wood or paper, working out the design along the way, sometimes just making certain details. We have a simple utilitarian aesthetic and are motivated to achieve a level of sophistication and beauty within that concept. We are not interested in loud design or statement pieces but search more for an unobtrusive harmony. We've always been aware of the environmental impact of our work but living in Tasmania, on the land, has made us far more aware of our impact. For us wood is a wonderful material to work with, it ages beautifully and it can be maintained and repaired relatively easily. Designing products that will last is also central to how we work, we think about how they will be enjoyed, re-used and recycled. It is all considered.
How does Tasmania influence your work?
We bring a special element to our work by using predominantly Tasmanian Timbers including the strong and plain Tasmanian Oak, Celery Top Pine and the unique/endemic Huon Pine. We source our timber from responsible suppliers and are slowly getting to know the local community of craftsmen. The change from a city based workshop, studio and showroom to a rural one has been a revelation. The line between home and work is now blurred a little more and we certainly have more freedom in how we organise ourselves and the different design directions we choose to explore. Being here has changed the way we live and work. It has helped us to evolve while maintaining the identity and integrity of our work.
How do you make sure you source from responsible timber suppliers?
There are only a few timber mills that are licensed to access Tasmanian timber like Huon Pine and Celery Top Pine. These suppliers, as members of Fine Timber Tasmania Chain of Custody, are required to provide certification that the timber has come from a forest that is managed sustainably and evidence of the entire chain of supply, starting with the forest the timber came from. Forests receiving certification need to be managed and monitored in a number of areas: ecosystem health; protection of soil and water resources; maintaining the biodiversity; safeguarding ecologically important forest areas; respecting traditional land rights and local customs; prohibiting deforestation; maintaining the productive capacity of forests and land; and enhancing the forests contribution to the carbon cycle among other criteria. Timber is a huge resource for Tasmania and if managed appropriately it will continue to be one.
How to you account for the waste you produce from your work?
We found it difficult to find suitable environmentally sound packaging solutions for furniture and we are currently working on solving this problem for a furniture project. We use brown paper and cardboard to pack our lights and we use blankets, cardboard boxes, timber crates and paper to pack the furniture. We limit the use of plastic and only use options that are either biodegradable or can be recycled. Our production does not generate much waste either. All wood offcuts are burnt in winter in a slow combustion stove and the saw dust waste is used on the garden.
Enter your details and then complete a short survey below to go into the draw to win a hand crafted Mini W.Petal Lamp by Pierre + Charlotte!