By Danielle Koopman

Queensland designers are collaborating to quench global thirst for fresh new brands and innovations.

Designers Alexander Lotersztain, Bjorn Rust, Surya Graf, Marc Harrison, Jason Bird and David Shaw are a collective of emerging, mid-career and established professionals who in 2010 banded together under the banner Quench.

Quench aims to promote new design developed here as well as raise the profile of Queensland design as a whole.

Its early forays into the international market have chalked up some impressive results, including an exhibition at Design Tide in Tokyo,

Quench plans to bring Queensland design to key international marketplaces to strengthen the recognition and value of Queensland design, build design knowledge and seek both public and private investment

Argentinian-born Alexander Lotersztain, established his design furniture brand ‘derlot’ in Queensland in 2003 and won the Inaugural Queensland Premier Smart State Designer of the Year Fellowship Award in 2010.

He is passionate about bringing together businesses and designers to create new ventures and opportunities in the global market.

“Design is a platform for entrepreneurial development,” he says.

“Design is very closely related to business and marketing strategies. You need to understand the business’ short and long-term goals.

“Queensland industry is currently very dependent on natural resources, but those resources won’t be there forever and we need a plan for long-term sustainability.

“Design has the capability to work with established industries such as tourism and mining to link and create new business ventures and niches.

“Design thinking is about creating solutions to problems. Good design has not only cultural value but economic value.”

Emerging young industrial designer Bjorn Rust says Quench is the lynchpin for bringing together the Queensland aesthetic and design principles.

He and Surya Graf are the creative forces behind Snack On, a design label, collaborative practice and online store.

“Queensland designers have a unique collaborative nature,” he says. 

“It’s clear in the work we do. You see cooperation and the way various production methods are used to leverage local manufacturing.

“All our pieces are manufactured locally; it’s an important part of our ethos.

“We believe we can create a dramatic economic influence by creating new IP and business opportunities for local manufacturers by using materials in more creative ways.”

Bjorn says it’s critical for Queensland designers to crack the Japanese market as it is a global opinion-leader of exceptional design.

Bjorn’s GS1 – a hand blown glass speaker with an aluminium horn – was launched during the inaugural Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific in Brisbane last year and then taken to Design Tide in Tokyo.

“I had visited Tokyo the year before to investigate the market. The GS1 was very much in response to the scale of electronic products I had seen there,” he says.

“It was designed for small apartment spaces with the aim to be unique and sculptural: unlike a box speaker that we shamefully hide, it’s ornamental.”

The GS1 was very well received and the piece Bjorn had brought to the show sold to the gallery owner – quality endorsement indeed.

With nation-leading events such as Unlimited, Queensland is now positioned as a leading centre for design in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region and holds a wealth of enviable design talent.

“People overseas are surprised and delight in Australian creativity and design,” Alexander says.

“It is great that the Queensland Government is getting right behind design. The Queensland Design Council, an enabling body and advisory council appointed by the State Government, is the first of its kind in Australia.”

For more information: http://www.quench-design.com/

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