Chandelier, 'Peony', metal / glass, designed and made by bernabeifreeman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2003-2006
The 'Peony' chandelier is described by its designers, Rina Bernabei and Kelly Freeman, as a 'contemporary take on a traditional chandelier that aims to reinterpret the textiles of the past and reintroduce decoration to the modern interior'. 'Peony' is composed of multiple panels of anodised aluminium intricately perforated to create an overall floral pattern inspired by Japanese design. The light thus counterpoints large scale metallic surfaces with delicate, textile-like decoration created by perforations that also function as a light-emitting source. Designed with the aid of a computer and produced by a manufacturer, 'Peony' combines industrial materials and techniques with delicate patterns that allude to traditional craft techniques.
Bernabei and Freeman are Sydney-based industrial designers who set up bernabeifreeman in 2002 to pursue contemporary lighting design. The pair have successfully adapted the perforation technique used in 'Peony' for a range of smaller pendant lights and for a woven aluminium strip screen. 'Peony' was launched at the Establishment Hotel during Sydney Design Week 2003. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Australian Design Awards and a smaller version of it was selected for display in the ADA Powerhouse Selection 2005-2006.
'Peony' is an important example of Australian lighting design created by a partnership with a solid local reputation and a fast developing international profile and market. Its synthesis of a traditional craft-based aesthetic with an industrial material and manufacturing process reflect a developing trend amongst contemporary designers to reference historical decorative styles as a means of 'humanising' their designs. This trend is particularly evident in the work of Dutch designers Tord Boontje and Hella Jongerius though Bernabie and Freeman have created their own unique aesthetic. Although distant from the design centres of Europe, Bernabei and Freeman have drawn strength from the constraints imposed by working in Australia, notably its limited manufacturing sector and small market. As Bernabei has noted: '... you can be 25 and have your own design company, be selling internationally and exhibiting in major exhibitions. this gives you total control over your product. You can't do this in Milan, it is the big strength of being in Sydney.' (Brian Parkes, 'Sydney Style', Object, Sydney, 2004)
Designed by Rina Bernabei and Kelly Freeman with the aid of a computer. Made by bernabeifreeman Pty Ltd using industrial techniques.
'Peony' was launched at the Establishment Hotel, Sydney during Sydney Design Week 2003. It was subsequently shown in the 'Design 2004' exhibition at Melbourne Museum, and won the IDEA 2004 Product Design Award. It was shortlisted in the Australian Design Awards 2005, receiving an Australian DesignMark, and a smaller version of it was chosen for the Powerhouse Museum Australian Design Awards selection display 2005-06. The current example is being especially made for the Museum.