The concept for Parke Studios, a new sustainability-led design practice operating out of Sydney and Melbourne, was born over a beer. As co-founder Henry Boydell tells it, he was in the process of collecting some artworks he had purchased from his now business partner Harry Murdoch when the latter invited him to have a drink.
“This was in 2020 and I was a big fan of Harry’s art. I’d come to Bondi Junction to pick up [his pieces] and he invited me in for a beer by the fire. Everything just flowed from there,” says Boydell.
From that meeting came a wave of inspiration to work together. They would combine Boydell’s background in architecture with Murdoch’s art and design practices. “Our process is a blend of my bold, graphic art style and Henry’s practical architectural approach,” explains Murdoch. “Our ideas meet in the middle as we share passion for clean and dynamic designs.”
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Both have a desire to create objects that straddle the divide between art and design but aren’t a burden on the planet. Using post-consumer waste to create their pieces, Murdoch and Boydell want to shift the way we perceive the potential for reuse. “We want our objects to showcase the beauty in second life materials and to express the true, and often overlooked, value in ‘waste’,” adds Murdoch. “Most importantly, we hope to convey a sense of how our past can help shape our future.”
Promoting the creative possibilities for sustainability lies at the core of Parke Studios’ practice, a small step in countering the greenwashing that permeates the design industry. Using recycled materials is just the first step. Even their own designs are created to be recycled, explains Boydell. On the back of each object you’ll find a QR code that can be scanned for complimentary collection to be recycled into future Parke products. “This helps keep our products in a closed loop system and minimises waste,” says Boydell. “Our future relies upon rethinking current designs and materials ... All our objects, packaging and shipping look to reduce our environmental footprint and utilise the already abundant resources in circulation.”
Working primarily with HDPE (high density polyethylene, a thermoplastic), the pair source all post-waste materials from Australia. The team works closely with recycling factory Defy Design, which currently facilitates the recycling process. All other materials used in Parke Studio products and packaging are also made here in Australia, which reduces the studio’s carbon footprint through less freight and supports other local industries.
For their debut collection, the pair developed a series of sculptural mirrors that are a progression from early experiments in picture frames, explains Murdoch. “We wanted to create a striking product that was versatile across a range of spaces. We found that mirrors were the perfect object for us to explore a blend of function and aesthetic. In the near future we will be designing other household objects and furniture, exploring new ways we can work with post-consumer plastics and other repurposed materials.”