Design drawing, 'Shoreline' deck chair, paper, designed and made by Leslie John Wright, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1997
This design drawing provides valuable background information relating to the design process associated with the Shoreline deck chair (88/192) held in the Powerhouse Museum's collection. It also illustrates the dynamic nature of the creative process as the design for this chair was originally created in 1984, yet this drawing was revised by John Leslie Wright in 1997. His web site, archived at the Australian National Library, shows the chair still being commercially available as a form in 2003.
Although Leslie John Wright is represented in the Museum's collection as a designer of furniture, an area in which he specialised, his expertise ranged from art works and wooden bowls turned in Australian timbers to jewellery and interior design. His furniture in particular explores organic shapes inspired by the Australian environment and includes the use of Australian native timbers.
Wright exhibited in numerous exhibitions both in Australia and overseas including International Furniture Fairs in Milan, New York and Tokyo. In The House of Fiction Domestic Blueprints in Wood exhibition put on by the Crafts Council of New South Wales in 1988 he described his inspiration for design as it "principally draws on the coastal ambience in Western Australia". (The House of Fiction catalogue, Crafts Council of NSW, Sydney, 1988, pp.20-21). Apart from the Shoreline deck chair he designed several other slatted and curved timber pieces of furniture using a variety of Australian timbers including 'Crest' chairs made of Tasmanian myrtle and also laminated silver ash, a jetty side table in Huon pine and a beach shelter that included Tasmanian oak.
Craig Bremner; The House of Fiction exhibition catalogue, Crafts Council of NSW, Sydney, 1988, pp.20-21
Rosemary Brown; "All In Order" in Vogue Living, (March, 1987, p.29.)
David Walker; New Contemporaries - an exhibition of Western Australia Crafts of the eighties catalogue, (Crafts Council of Western Australia, Perth, 1988)
Leslie John Wright web page archived by the National Library of Australia at http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-59763
Curator, Design & Society
Revised design drawing of the 'Shoreline' deck chair, designed by Leslie John Wright in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1997.
The chair was originally manufactured by James Bradley's Pty Ltd of Launceston, Tasmania. These chairs were manufactured in Huon pine. An example of one in the Powerhouse Museum collection (88/192) dates from 1987. The original 'Shoreline' chair design dates from 1984.
The 'Shoreline' deck chair remained part of the design and production portfolio of John Leslie Wright's design company when in Sydney. His website (from about 2003) stated;
"Wright teams up with his clients in the research and development of new products. He has 20 years experience designing and manufacturing and his products are consistently winning awards for his clients. Wright is well informed about current design movements and local and international markets. He creates from original concepts, resolving designs through the process of drawing, CAD modelling and prototyping. His designs are innovative, commercially realistic and eminently marketable."
(From Furniture Production page of John Leslie Wright Fine Furniture & Interior Design website, archived at the National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-59763).
John Leslie Wright was born in 1951 in Western Australia. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design at the Western Australian Institute of Technology in 1984. The same year he won an Award for Excellence from the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
In 1985 he was awarded an overseas study grant by the Crafts Board of the Australia Council. In 1986 he received a Creative Development Fellowship from the Arts Council of Western Australia. He served as president of the Crafts Council of Western Australia and as vice-president of the Crafts Council of Australia. He also taught Design Theory at Curtin University. In 1996 he completed a Master of Fine Arts (research) from the University of Tasmania. He died in 2006.
The donor, a cabinet maker, made furniture for Wright and used the drawing of the 'Shoreline' chair.