The work of Melbourne design duo Dowel Jones seen in situ at the Local Milan showcase, as part of Salone del Mobile 2017
Credit: Fiona Susanto/Courtesy of Local Design

A dream trip to Salone del Mobile will, for many, remain just that. The city at a fever pitch, a pilgrimage to the annual Milanese design fair requires precision planning lest you lose yourself in a daunting and often dazzling onslaught of the best in contemporary design from around the world.

It’s something the team behind Local Design know all too well, having this year staged their second showcase of work from young Australian designers on the world stage. Helmed by Emma Elizabeth – designer, stylist, creative director and curator – a group of eleven creatives working across disparate fields transformed the historic Oratorio della Passione at Piazza Sant’Ambrogio within the 5 Vie design district into a localised interrogation of the Australian aesthetic.

“As the curator of the show, I carefully selected and worked with each of the designers to make a show that as a collective had strength in showcasing the Australian aesthetic and style,” Emma Elizabeth told GRAZIA. “Shows like this really drive the world to understand better what Australian style is. I feel this show was a real stepping stone for Australian design on a global level; I hope [it] shapes the way the world perceives Australian design and pushes further support for us to do ever more incredible activations in the future.”

In the likely even that you weren’t able to inspect the showcase in person, the Local Milan offering is now exhibiting within the Australian Design Centre, bringing the work of designers like Tom Fereday, Ryan McGoldrick in collaboration with the artist Kate Banazi, and design duo Dowel Jones to their home turf. It’s a rich and varied survey of what an Australian design language might look and sound like, and is worth investigating for the duration of the show.

“They’re making extremely sophisticated products with really limited resources, which is Australian made furniture,” Fereday told GRAZIA at the inaugural Local Milan showcase, reflecting on what makes the designers and their works quintessentially Australian. “They’re making them and they’re selling them and creating their own business. The common thing for me is also a clean, super refined aesthetic with this addition of colour and texture that is unique to Australia. There are elements of a minimal aesthetic usually associated with Swedish or Danish design, but I see that next addition associated with the richness of Australia.

“It’s not so serious, but it is special.”

Local Milan will exhibit at the Australian Design Centre until August 9. You can find out more information here.

Tile and cover image: Fiona Susanto/Courtesy of Local Design