Q + A
| Kristen | Can you please introduce yourself and what you do.
| DANIEL EMMA | We (Daniel To and Emma Aiston) established the design studio DANIEL EMMA in 2008, to enable us to express our thoughts through Industrial Design. Our studio works on a large variety of projects, ranging from desk objects to large scale installations.
| Kristen | How did you first get started in making furniture?
| DANIEL EMMA | It was a natural progression really, we began designing small desktop objects early on and a desire to push ourselves and our creative direction saw us translating our design language into larger pieces including furniture and lighting.
| Kristen | You self-produce all of your work? How did you go about starting to do that?
| DANIEL EMMA | Our studio works on a variety of projects, which can easiest be described under the following 4 headings:
We design products for brands across the world, from furniture and lighting to accessories and textiles. For us collaborations are about working together with companies to create a product that is a unique combination of both brand values.
We are often asked to create special customised designs for projects whether they are for exhibitions or spaces, from corporate gifts to pop-up shops we enjoy the challenge that a specific brief presents us with.
Self-Produced is a range of products that we design and produce ourselves in Adelaide, Australia. Using a combination of local industries and crafts people we have developed a small range of pieces that are available only through our studio.
Working with galleries and curators we create pieces that are one offs or limited runs. We have worked with National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Object Gallery (Sydney), Lamington Drive (Melbourne), Cooper Hewitt (New York), Hugo Michell (Adelaide) and Pieces of Eight (Melbourne).
| Kristen | Your work is very simple yet striking, playful and still sophisticated. What does your creative process look like when designing a new collection?
| DANIEL EMMA | Our work aims to be ‘Just Nice’ nothing more, nothing less, that’s all.
It is this ideology that embodies each piece we design. Always collaboratively equal parts Daniel and Emma. Our influence is inherit, and comes from our unique childhoods, our travel experiences and the distinctive ‘melting pot’ culture that Australia presents us with. We take pleasure in ordinary everyday things and like the idea of viewing daily life as something special, we try to reflect this sentiment it each piece we make.
That for us is ‘Just Nice’.
| Kristen | What is the ‘Bling Bling Dynasty’ collection about and how often do you come out with new collections? What were your inspirations for this collection?
| DANIEL EMMA | Much of our childhood experiences are embedded within Asian culture, namely Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan and since our studios inception 7 years ago, we have spent a significant amount of time traveling throughout Asia for both work and pleasure. In a more recent trip to Hong Kong to visit family we began to see many correlations between our use of colour and form and the urban landscapes we had been exposed to. We have both always been fascinated with the varied and unparalleled way of life experienced when in Asia, so it was an epiphany to attribute our work to certain encounters and influences that we had previously taken for granted.
Bling Bling Dynasty is us finally owning up to what inspires us. It’s still our life but more specifically the time spent in-between cultures. This show is what we hope to be the first of many that looks at our relationship with these cultures and is represented in a room of objects and furniture.
| Kristen | What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs and designers?
| DANIEL EMMA | Stay original. Don’t EVER give up.