Having initially studied Psychology at university, we were curious to know how Brisbane designer Surya Graf ended up making furniture. So we grabbed him for a chat about his work and the design ethos that makes him one of the most exciting local designers on the rise. It turns out it began with spaces – how they influence our behaviour, and how design plays a huge part in that. Throw in a study of Architecture and Industrial Design, and you have yourself a mixed mind of the clinical and the creative. And quite a bit of brilliance.
Get to know Surya Graf:
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I draw on influences from art and film, but I tend to feel the greatest impact from experiences while travelling. I enjoy observing both the differences and similarities across cultures, and then trying to feed them back into the design of objects and spaces.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK EVOLVED?
My design thinking has always been materials led and process driven, and I like to think that my work has continued to explore these principles over time. The results are often focused on functionality with a refined simplicity of form.
One thing that is truly unique about the local Queensland design community is how collaborative and supportive it is. I have had the opportunity to work with friends and colleagues on a number of events in recent years including Spark, Branch Out, and the Quench collective. Probably one of the most enjoyable projects that I have worked on was a recent boutique bar design on the Gold Coast – The Cambus Wallace (BELOW). I worked in close collaboration with the group of owners to plan the space and develop a custom suite of furniture for the bar. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious and the success of the venue is testament to the efforts of the team involved.
WHAT’S IN THE WORKS?
I am currently involved in the organisation of an exhibition to promote local Australian design to an international audience. The Quench Tastemakers LA event will launch in Los Angeles this June and will feature a number of established and emerging lifestyle brands. I am also developing two new ranges of pendant lighting for both commercial and domestic use. One series will be manufactured from glazed ceramic, while the other will utilise a unique recycled plastic material (previously used for the Crease chair – BELOW).
A PERFECT WEEKEND:
I try to find a balance between being active and lazy, and I always do my best to steer clear of the computer. There’s is nothing I like more than a late Sunday breakfast at my local coffee shop, and the a trip down the coast with some friends for some relaxing beach time and a refreshing afternoon drink while watching the sun go down. I also like to get out on the bike for a ride through the hills when I get the chance.
YOUR TYPICAL WORK DAY:
I try to start the day with an early morning spin on the bike around the river-loop. After a quick shower and breakfast at home, the next stop is Cup for a chat to the guys, a flick through the newspaper and my first brew for the day. It’s then a short walk through West End into the studio for the critical tasks of the day, which tends to be a mix of client meetings, site visits, discussions with manufacturers, in-house prototyping, and hopefully a quick game of table tennis out the back. The afternoon is all about solid design time, and I tend to work back late most evenings to immerse myself in the quiet after the phone has stopped ringing before finishing up the with a lovely dinner at home with my beautiful girlfriend or maybe a nightcap with some friends at The End.
A DREAM CREATIVE PROJECT:
Whenever I start a new project I always try to make it an opportunity to learn something new, so as my practice progresses I can see it evolving from being purely focused on product design into something more holistic. With my background in Architecture I would love the opportunity to build something on a larger scale, that would also allow me to collaborate with creative friends and colleagues.
Surya Graf has designed products for major street-scape projects throughout Australia and internationally, been nominated for numerous design awards and branched out into a variety of interior projects, while also producing ranges of furniture, lighting and home-wares products. You can view his full portfolio of work HERE.
SURYA GRAF – THE CREATIVES as featured in the Winter 13 issue of Queensland Homes magazine