Virtual Design Festival

DesignByThem presents three collections at VDF products fair
The confetti-like pattern of recycled plastic give this furniture collection its name

DesignByThem presents three furniture collections at VDF products fair

Recycled plastic, clear acrylic and voluptuously layered foam feature in three texture-heavy collections by Sydney studio DesignByThem, which are being showcased as part of the VDF products fair.

The Sundae and Fenster series both focus on seating but to very different effects. While the former consists of chubby soft furnishings geared towards comfort, the latter sees stark, black metal frames left exposed by transparent seats and backrests.

Beyond just seats, the Confetti collection also includes tables, planters and home accessories generously patterned with multi-coloured speckles.

Sundae Lounges by Jason Ju for DesignByThem
The cloud-like shape of Jason Ju's Sundae Lounges is created by layering different foams

All are currently being exhibited at the fair, which forms part of Dezeen's Virtual Design Festival and gives designers and brands an affordable platform for launching new products.

Envisioned by the studio's design and production coordinator Jason Ju, the Sundae Lounges are named after their plump, curvy shape, which is reminiscent of soft-serve ice cream or bunched-up marshmallows.

This effect is created by adding different types of foam on top of a plywood and steel base, as well as spring systems in the seat to amp up its comfort and durability.

Fenster seating collection by Gibson Karlo for DesignByThem
The Fenster seats get their name from the German word for window, in reference to the steel-framed windows that influenced their design

The chairs and stools in the Fenster collection, on the other hand, play up the contrast between their dark frames and otherwise entirely clear exteriors, in a nod to the traditional design of steel-rimmed crittall windows.

Designers and DesignByThem founders Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis, who go by the name Gibson Karlo, grounded the seats' unconventional use of acrylic in elegant, recognisable shapes that allow the series to feel at home in a range of different settings, including the outdoors.

Finally, their Confetti pieces celebrate rather than conceal the natural texture of recycled plastic, which sees a rainbow array of different coloured fragments mashed together into an almost Memphis-style pattern.

Across the collection, the material is used in the shape of a cylindrical module to form everything from table legs to entire plant pots.

Confetti furniture collection by Gibson Karlo for DesignByThem
The speckled base of the Confetti table is made from recycled plastic

DesignByThem was established in 2007 and as a representative of Australia's burgeoning design scene it hopes to play a part in defining the country's own, distinct style.

"Australian design is definitely on the global stage and I believe Australia has such a broad range of styles and aesthetics, just like we do people," said Ju.

"This is what makes us unique as a Westernised country."

Photography is by Pete Daly.

About VDF products fair: the VDF products fair offers an affordable launchpad for new products during Virtual Design Festival. For more details email [email protected]