Design

This Bright-Eyed Australian Designer Is All About Simplicity

Rhys Cooper creates objects that embrace top-tier materials and an uncomplicated manufacturing process.

For Adelaide-based furniture, lighting, and object designer Rhys Cooper, it all starts with a sketch. “So much of my inspiration comes from drawing and being driven to create dynamic, original work,” he says. In his latest collection, Cooper artfully explores graphic configurations to produce his most sculptural work to date. Wire pendants appear jewel-like in their multifaceted formations, a dining chair’s backrest references an ocean wave, and a side table owes its pared-down silhouette to meticulous detailing like flush joinery.

Simple though his design philosophy may be, it’s proving to be very popular in Australia’s hospitality and design communities. With an emphasis on crisp forms and clean lines, Cooper believes in using high-quality materials to create pieces that have artistic integrity while adhering to an uncomplicated manufacturing process. His recently launched Cusp dining chair is a typical case in point. Made in Australia using a range of plantation timbers and traditional joinery techniques, it is upholstered in sumptuous wool or leather—surprisingly ambitious for a designer whose studio was only established in 2016.

Honing his precise minimalism and steady resolve, Cooper was prodigious during a two-year training in furniture design at the Jam Factory craft-and-design collective, where he presently has a workshop. With a rapidly expanding portfolio, he is currently developing prototypes for a coffee table, mirror, vase, and coat rack for a variety of home and contemporary office settings.

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