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Iwork in media and filmmaking,
where information can be purely
functional, but it can also be
fashioned into beautiful animations
or films; and simple messages can
be woven into elegant phrases or
powerful oratory. In so many industries
where things are 'made', the lines
between functionality, design -- and
even art -- are constantly blurring.
When the Australian Furniture
Association (AFA) made the decision
to hold this year's industry Furnishing
Futures Conference and Awards Gala
in Brisbane, it was more than the
somewhat bracing July temperatures in
the Melbourne Exhibition Centre that
inspired the decision to move a 'must-
attend' industry event to warmer climes.
Synchronising with the International
Furniture and Design Fair is further
recognition of the important
contribution that the furniture industry
makes to this country's employment,
its economy and its cultural identity.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hits
the nail on the head, when he writes,
'Australia's future prosperity depends
on a dynamic environment of enterprise
and imagination, and the creative
design industry will be an important
part of this'.
FURNITEX & design will be celebrating
the 'creative design industry' -- an
industry that turns everyday objects
into forms and textures that are both
practical and pleasing for the senses.
It helps transform what many see as
'just practical manufacturing' into
an internationally recognised Aussie
The AFA's efforts in overseas profiling
have been well rewarded. Aussie
furniture was enthusiastically received
at International Pavilions exhibitions in
London and China in 2015, and China
is calling again in 2016. Reaching out
to the world is paying dividends, and
it is only by coming together to share
ideas and experiences that we can
ensure that the industry has the skills
for a vibrant future on the world stage.
I look forward to seeing all my friends
from the AFA in Brisbane in July. Once
again, I am honoured to have been invited
to be your Master of Ceremonies during
the two days of conferencing. As always,
there is a great line-up of speakers and
panel sessions, and there will be plenty
of opportunities for you to ask questions
and join in the panel sessions.
We will be exploring matters of
importance to everyone in the industry
-- the building of a sustainable 21st-
century workforce, business and
resources sustainability, navigating
local and international markets, new
technologies, and industry reform.
Chatting with speakers and other
conference delegates between the
formal sessions is always one of the
great benefits of attending Furnishing
Futures. Once again, we will be joined
by representatives from Industry
Skills Councils, registered training
organisations (RTOs), Australian
apprenticeship support network
members, established and new
businesses, not-for-profit organisations,
governments, vocational educators,
tertiary educators, and trainees
and apprentices. This is the once-a
year opportunity to share wisdom,
perspective, inspiration and innovation.
A highlight of FURNITEX is always
the inspiring work of the Australian
Contemporary Emerging (ACE) Design
Awards nominees, on public display.
These bright young Australian designers
will be exhibiting during FURNITEX
& design, and will participate in the
Australian Furniture Industry Awards
Gala on Saturday 9 July.
Brisbane is the city where I went to
school and university, and I have fond
memories of jacaranda trees and old
Queenslander houses, with their broad
verandahs frequently boasting that
uniquely Australian example of Aussie
ingenuity: the squatters chair.
But it is that vibrant Aussie creativity
that is going to put Australian furniture
design into not so much a pigeonhole,
but rather a place where anything is
possible. And that's where the furniture
industry, like the media industry, is
going to excel: in blurring the lines
between functionality, design, art and,
yes -- a force that we are guilty of
occasionally succumbing to -- fashion.
This year, FURNITEX & design boasts
a new Inspiration Runway, showcasing
leading lifestyle blogs and publications,
architects, interior designers, and
Art and fashion define our times,
and contribute to our aesthetic.
It's an Aussie aesthetic that must
be synonymous with quality and
individuality. It is what we are known for
internationally, and it is who we are.
Let's celebrate and prepare ourselves
for a vibrant future of Aussie furniture
design. See you in Brissy!
For more information, visit
Blurring the lines
BY JO PEARSON, MC AT FURNITEX 2016
I've never liked being pigeonholed, and I think
that I can go as far as to say that neither does any
creator, designer or 'maker of things', which is one
of the reasons FURNITEX & design has struck such
a resoundingly positive chord this year.
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