Home' Australian Furniture and Furnishing : Volume 2 No 1 Contents AUSTRALIAN FURNITURE & FURNISHING
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Australian Furniture &
Furnishings: What led you
to being involved in the
International Pavilion, and how did the
AFA help to make it happen?
Peter Kitely: As I lead a double life –
designer and design educator – I do
attend national and international design
events as often as possible to keep fresh,
to update knowledge, and to generally
monitor developments in the design world.
I had decided to attend the 2015 London
Design Festival earlier in the year, so the
AFA involvement and the inclusion of work
by current students and recent graduates
from the course that I coordinate in Perth
was a bonus. My deeper involvement
occurred when two of the Perth designers
were unable to attend – I was asked to
represent them at the event.
AF&F: What had you expected to achieve
(from a business perspective) before
attending/exhibiting at Tent London?
PK: Obviously, I was there to review
design trends, new approaches to
design, and new materials. That is
important and necessary as both a
designer and an educator.
I was also there to maintain my existing
industry contacts, and to create and
establish new ones.
Involvement in the AFA Tent exhibition
did force me to review and analyse
the event from a different perspective:
to consider the benefit and value to
the AFA of presenting Australian work
overseas; to consider the benefit to
the designers and the participants;
[and to ascertain whether] this is a
realistic and cost-effective way [for the
participants] to market themselves and
their products. Is this a realistic market
to be targeting?
That’s a lot to consider. I think it is
important that the AFA presents work
at international events, to encourage
Australian companies and designers
to start the process of believing in, and
creating, products that can be sold
around the world.
AF&F: What did Tent London offer to
you, in terms of learning, from both a
national and international perspective?
PK: Being involved in Tent London
provided an opportunity to gauge the
design and quality of the Australian
products compared to products from
many other countries. In my opinion, the
designs held up well.
The presentation of the work needs
careful planning, and every aspect of
the AFA corporate visual presentation
AF&F: What would you do differently?
PK: From a personal point of view, I
achieved most of my planned outcomes.
In hindsight, there are always a few
instances of ‘I wish I’d done this or that’,
but [it was] generally a successful event
from my point of view. I did the research
prior to London and knew what I wanted
to do, see and achieve.
For the AFA, research and pre-event
planning. The success or otherwise
of attending any such event is directly
linked to the planning. Inviting specific
people to visit the stand and view the
work is vital. You cannot wait for the
right person to ‘happen by’.
AF&F: What were your highlights of
PK: Confirmation that the work of
emerging designers that I work with
is absolutely on the mark. The ideas,
the approach, the design content,
the execution of the prototypes – all
absolutely on the mark. I found this
reassuring and confidence-building.
[I also enjoyed] Ron Arad explaining
about his design work methods, the
importance of ‘the story’ in the design,
and the need to work hard and have
confidence in your ideas.
Meeting designers and manufacturers
from different countries, exchanging
ideas and information [was also a
highlight]. Exchanging business ideas
and marketing strategies, building
contacts and networks – all of this was
really interesting and useful information.
Also visiting the Moroso showroom – that
was very interesting and inspirational.
AF&F: What are your top five tips
for those thinking of following in your
footsteps in the future?
PK: 1 – Do not hesitate. If you get the
opportunity to present work at a major
event, DO IT – do not hesitate. Attend
2 – Be prepared. It is all about the pre-
event planning. Think about what to do
to get the maximum benefit and reward
from the investment and opportunity.
Peter Kitely, Product and Furniture Design
teacher at Central TAFE Perth
Feedback and learning
from Tent London
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