The journey for designer Robyn Wood to establish her own studio has been a circuitous route. Her early dreams of becoming a furniture designer were carried through her education at Underdale CAE and the University of South Australia to working on architectural fit-outs with IJF and Total Space Design before time off to raise a family. It was then in 2013 that she realised she had to pursue what she loved.
Now established as a designer of bespoke objects and furniture, Robyn Wood Studio specialises in natural materials with a focus on wood and Australian timbers. Her inspiration comes from simple things, such as a shape or line from which she sketches up ideas, followed by rapid prototyping with cardboard models and plywood prototypes.
Wood’s approach to date has been to produce bespoke one-offs, creating statement occasional pieces with character. Her favourite pieces are smaller works such as Bud Lamp and the popular Drift cufflink organiser, which both epitomise her approach to integrating clean design with functionality.
Being a solo operator, marketing and building her brand are as essential as the design and production of her products. Wood puts in the hard-yards to sell her products and is a regular at design markets in South Australia and interstate, also helping her to understand her consumer. “Selling at markets is a great way to understand the audience for my work, over 3 years I now know that about 1 in 100 engage and it’s that 1% who will make a purchase.”
She is about to start a new phase and explore increased production with a commitment to working with local joiners and manufacturers. South Australia remains a key source of inspiration, with Wood remarking, “I’ve done a lot of markets and you see a lot of copies and trends, but in SA there is a lot of originality, very high quality and a wide range of products.”
Her ultimate ambition is to be part of a hub which brings designers together, with exhibitions of furniture and furniture designers. “There is so much talent here which isn’t being seen, there is a need for those designers to have that exposure.”
First published in The Adelaide Review, Issue 456.