Dowel Jones is a Melbourne design brand founded by Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch in 2013. With their unique, simplified approach to commercial furniture, they have furnished homes and interiors worldwide while scooping up a national and international roster of awards and collaborations.
Their new installation at Lamington Drive, Lucky Dip, draws inspiration from $2 and reject shops to create a series of brand new gift shop objects. These objects will be concealed within a sea of boxes that could contain anything from a chopping board to a table, for participants to claim. Much like a visit to a $2 shop, you’re bound to go home with something that you never knew you needed, but may hold a special place in your heart and home.
Viv Hu sat down with Dale to discuss all things Lucky Dip.
This exhibition focuses on $2 shop items. What drew you to basing your exhibition around these spaces?
$2 Shops, Reject Shops and places such as Daiso have a particular allure to them and the understanding when you’re in them is simple: everything is affordable. Although we produce fairly cost-effective furniture, the vast majority of our work requires serious investment for most, so we decided to produce objects that would be much more accessible. The majority of our presentations are based around connecting with the market that we work with the most, which are commercial interiors (cafes, restaurants, educational facilities etc.). Lucky Dip is our first presentation focusing on individuals interested in owning a Dowel Jones piece for their home.
In your practice, you make a lot of furniture. Maybe because I'm a graphic designer, but thinking in terms of 3D space and objects isn’t my strong suit. Have you two always been interested constructing / reconstructing objects and space?
Although we like to work graphically also, our education was most definitely focused on the production of physical outcomes, as we both studied furniture design (together) before going to complete honours in Industrial Design. We both have always had an interest in physical objects going all the way back to our early years. Interestingly enough, the component I (Dale) enjoy the most now is the production of all graphic elements within the production of objects and projects, while Adams is on the physical, so we can work quite effectively between the two.
You have used VR in your work before and in this exhibition, you invite viewers to purchase tickets to take Lucky Dip prizes home. How important is audience participation in your practice?
With the rise of online internet shopping comes the fall of intimacy with customers. Although we now have the entire world of shopping at our fingertips, we can’t actually feel, smell or sense any of the things we’re purchasing. Working at the scale we are at means we can take more risk and test different user experiences through both the use of new technologies but also alternate shopping experiences. As we’ve never really had a showroom/ space that is viewable for the general public, creating alternative experiences that audiences can participate in has been crucial.