A great divide is developing in the world of furniture design. It’s a battle between man and machine, as robotics and new technology progress in the face of traditional and handcrafted artisanal works. At last year’s furniture fair in Milan, the dispute between ‘digicraft’ and handcraft set the tone for the week-long celebration of conceptual and aesthetic innovation. At one display, a 3D printer named Deep Pink raced against artist/designer Dominic Wilcox to see who could build a better model of the Duomo. Wilcox’s clay construction triumphed (apparently the machine lacked the dexterity of human hands).
Poised firmly in the camp of the handmade is new Sydney-based outfit, A B Projects. Founded by architect Domenic Alvaro and carpenter Boris Tosic, A B Projects unites creative expression with craftsmanship in a collaboration based on a shared passion for handcrafted design. The duo has come together with the aim of creating contemporary furniture using time-honoured techniques and tailored joinery methods, which have been employed for centuries. Their debut collection comprises a suite of solid timber pieces available in walnut, oak or cherry. The range includes a desk with leather inlay, a versatile modular shelving system and the stunning easy-to-assemble ‘Screwed’ table.
While new software is allowing consumers to customise pre-made designs at the click of a mouse in a movement coined ‘participatory design’, the A B Projects team champion customisation through design expertise in their onsite design lab, aptly named A B Lab. Ideas and designs are then brought to life in the A B Workshop by a team of passionate and skilled craftsmen. “In this modern time of mass production the craft of making is severely diminishing,” says Tosic. “I want to bring the soul out of each product so it can become a friend in the home for many years.”
A B Projects’ debut collection is currently available via Living Edge Furniture.