This year we discovered Australian industrial designer Tom Fereday, who’d just finished a furniture collaboration with Louis Vuitton for its Sydney Bondi Junction store after winning Lane Crawford’s 2018 Creative Callout. The 33-year-old rising star has an arresting style that’s sleek, minimal and rather clever.
“Designing from the inside out”, as he puts it, means using principles of honest and meaningful design that celebrate the materials and processes used. His work with Louis Vuitton was a great “opportunity to develop one-off custom pieces, which allowed us to explore different areas of furniture and challenged us to make something truly unique”.
“I love to collaborate with different makers and manufacturers,” Fereday says. “People who’ve built a career around a specific trade or materials offer invaluable insight to designers.”
Born in Sydney, Fereday grew up in the UK before returning to Australia, studying industrial design at the University of Technology and founding his own studio in 2012. His Sydney studio and atelier is billed as “multidisciplinary” in approach: It deals in furniture and lighting — and even watches, speakers and microphones — all made using honest design methods and often natural materials.
Some of our favourite Tom Fereday pieces incorporate wonderfully grained natural woods that beg to be touched, such as his rounded Mito lights and the dark wood tables and chairs created for Louis Vuitton; the Hull chair, inspired by the body of a boat and made from one piece of wood, is a spectacular standout.
Gaining global momentum after winning multiple design awards around the world, Fereday has now exhibited in the US, around Europe and regularly at Milan’s Salone del Mobile. Winning audiences over with simple elegance and tactile pieces, he says that the longer he’s been in the industry, the more he’s “grown to respect different approaches in design”.
That’s not to say there aren’t many challenges: Within Australia, he says, one major issue is retailers replicating (ripping off) furniture from designers and designer brands. “There’s a lack of support,” he says, “for those copied and this affects even young designers working here.”