CO:LAB exhibition essay

The initiative to connect visual artists with commercial architecture firms has been explored and exhibited through a new pilot program created by Craft ACT. Allowing the artists to respond to a client brief and work in a new medium of lighting.


Cathy Franzi, a visual artist whose past works have been within the medium of ceramics, reflects her interest in Australian botanicals.  For this project she has drawn on her flora narrative, which drives her overall aesthetic and the design approach of her pendant lighting pieces. . Cathy has taken this continued direction and chosen to push the theme of collaboration further; by partnering with fellow CO:LAB creatives Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer to produce a table lamp. With an innate sustainability discernment, Cathy reflects line work and nature silhouettes throughout all of the works presented.


Alison Jackson is a name synonymous with the Australian design scene. She is known for her contemporary silversmith work and metal forming. Her minimalist approach to design is  further reflected within this project. The collaboration between Alison  and  sculptor Dan Lorrimer was the perfect fusion to create a highly refined lighting piece made from brass and stainless steel. By combining a hand-held technique with machine making, the duo were able to explore an innovative expansion on a hydraulic pressing technique. The mixture of these two manufacturing techniques and forming means that no two lights are the same, a notion that has not been seen before with  pure machine production. Post production work on their pieces was also cleverly minimised due to the natural forms which take on their own patination treatment as time goes by. The theme of longevity is apparent in both of their continued individual practices along with this collaboration of works.

CO:LAB has been able to push further the craft base approach into a more commercial landscape. This is an endeavour that will aid both sectors to see growth and further developments.

Emma Elizabeth 

Designer, stylist and creative director.