We’re delighted to introduce the perfect blend of utility and design. From fine stoneware ceramics, beautiful glass and bamboo serving accessories; bisonhome creates a truly unique range of exclusive homewares and lifestyle products.
What path bought you to Life Instyle?
I haven’t shown at a Trade Fair for many years and felt that the mix of designers and quality of work would be a great fit!
A typical day at work involves…
Early morning walk with Inky and Claude ( my 2 Belgian Shepherds ) to clear my head. Sort through emails and paperwork and then work on design concepts. I often find you come up with great ideas when you are away from the workdesk, Half of my day is spent with calls to clients, following up requests for loans for editorial shoots, going in to my Canberra store to do some re-merchandising or look at potential product development.
My style is best described as…
Clean, considered and utilitarian.
I live my Life Instyle by…
Avoiding being on Hoarders (TV Show) and through collecting pieces that have meaning…. not pretty future landfill.
Favourite piece of advice…
Don’t create something ‘fashionable’….come up with a form which people will still find relevant and appealing 20 years from now.
If I wasn’t doing this I’d probably…
Be back working in some arid region of the Middle East as an archaeologist.
Brands I admire include…
Marni, Penguin, Bauer, and Finn Juhl
My workspace is…
My study upstairs. Looks out though a huge window in to the garden. Minimal clutter!
I get my best business ideas by…
Looking at gardens and colours, or even architectural details, when I walk my dogs (Twice a day!)
The biggest influence in my business life is…
My partner and my mother. I can bounce concepts off them and get brutal honesty as opposed to being too close to your ideas.
My dream business mentor would be…
Howard Hughes. His energy was phenomenal, his drive to suceeed and create in disparate businesses a by-product of his eccentricity. I don’t know how financially viable his company ended up being but it would have been a hell of a ride!
Right now I’m working on…
Building bisonhome to become a larger design company with a broader range of products and ceramic forms.
My biggest goal for the next 12 months is…
To have a company which allows me greater freedom to work on design whether it be capsule collections, media such as timber and fabric, and to spend time managing the work/life balance we all struggle with!
In five years time I’ll…
Be able to reflect on brand with global reach and appeal. I’d like to have developed some products which are linked with charitable causes. Education, human rights, and environmental preservation are all important to me and I’d like to mirror that in the relationships within my company.
bisonhome is a lifestyle design company with a core range of ceramics . We endeavour to create pieces that celebrate the elements of artisanal skill with the added benefit of being beautiful and practical. Bison was established over 17 years ago in Canberra by Brian Tunks (former ancient historian and archaeologist. ANU) For the first 16 years since our inception we produced most of our pieces in our Canberra workshop. bison has grown to become a larger company and increased demand has meant we now produce a range of forms, from ceramics to timber and glassware, which complement the visual and utilitarian appeal of our ceramic collection. We achieve this by collaborating with boutique studios and suppliers who share our passion and standards in a range of locations around the globe.
I’m seeing a gradual shift away from the heavy emphasis on geometrics to a new pared-back romanticism. By this I mean that some of the harder lines in the motifs currently in the mainstream are softening somewhat and look great teamed with more restrained references to pattern as opposed to objects covered completely with designs. I love mixing it up and putting my plain forms (in which I hope the design/shape don’t need to be obscured) with work by other designers with no particular ‘look’ in mind.
What is your background?
Hailing from central NSW I ended up attending school in Malmo Sweden. This influenced my perspective on design and is reflected in the colours and forms within my collection. I ended up at ANU in Canberra studying my MLitt in Classics and Ancient History and attending a Hellenistic archaeological site in Syria. Working with Classical pottery gave me an insight in to the nuances of form and the understanding that in the millennia since pottery was first thrown in the round, that we simply reinterpret shapes and designs… not reinvent them.
What or who inspires you?
My mother, David Suzuki, Ralph Balson. I’m drawn to people who have energy to effect change. This can be either on a social/environmental level or simply to step outside the box and create a new design movement. The fact that any creative output can be uploaded to instagram or other social media makes risk taking more interesting.
What are your favourite trends at the moment?
That’s like asking a parent to choose their favourite child! I’d have to say I’m excited by the developments in furniture design and textiles. There’s a clear understanding on the need for comfort and texture in design as opposed to simply creating an object. I’m loving the swing back to pattern as an accent rather than overwhelming fabrics and other objects. You see this in couture and then this spills onto home wares and interiors.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Being accountable to myself for the direction we take. Understanding that resources and changing technology plays a big part in the evolution of business of today. Having the freedom to structure my days around creating forms and seeing people throughout Australia, and internationally, appreciate these objects.
Why do you exhibit at Life Instyle?
I’m drawn to being in an environment with people who have a personal relationship with the output of their companies. This is evident at Life Instyle and in the edited displays of the makers and designers. It feels more inviting and interesting to have a presence with such a diverse pool of talented creative minds.
What exciting things can readers expect to see at the upcoming show?
We will be launching a series of beautiful ceramics to complement our earlier ranges. The ‘new bison classics’ will showcase how the natural world influences the forms and motifs in our work. These vessels will also be accompanied by our first foray into glass. We have created some pieces that will team with the ceramic collection and also relate to our bamboo utensils. We’ll even get into the Christmas spirit with some elegant simple decorations for the festive season.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given…
Don’t be a distraction in class! (From my kindergarten teacher)