NEXT: Christian Hall

NEXT is a solo exhibition by South Australian designer and maker, Christian Hall. 

NEXT is an exhibition of furniture, sculpture and jewellery that “explores the viewpoint as a focus for design”. Christian Hall explains that as a designer he is interested in both people and objects, and in this exhibition, he has made works that appear different when viewed from different perspectives, shifting as we move through the space. His works are stark black in colour and take the form of simple shapes and confident lines. These works are designed to unfold as we move around them, revealing new patterns, volumes and geometries as our position shifts. The effect of shifting patterns and geometry generated by moving around the pieces, focuses this body of work on the interaction between object and viewer.

Opening words from the exhibition launch on Thursday 25 May 2017

by Gilbert Riedelbauch


Welcome everyone, it is my pleasure to introduce Christian Hall and his work to you.

Christian Hall leads. He leads through his practice, as a designer and maker, and since 2009 as the Creative Director of the JamFactory's Jewellery & Metal studio - a studio he sees as an incubator for emerging talent.

The JamFactory’s unique model of operation - the fusing of craft and design practice with commercial and educational objectives - demands a unique personality to succeed in leading on such many levels. I believe – and the work around us demonstrates this clearly that Christian is able to fulfil these demands successfully.

In NEXT, this show, he is presenting a range of his furniture, sculptural objects and jewellery. When I viewed this show earlier this week, it struck me that in spite of the many different subjects explored, the display holds together perfectly well.

While aach piece is resolved individually, together in this exhibition they work even stronger as a whole – as such explaining the principle of harmony.

As an academic, I like that a series of his ‘Cubic Pattern Marquette’ are included. Through these Marquettes we can gain a sense of the processes that were employed to achieve the final pieces. When discussing his work, scale has to be mentioned. We are shown that the very same geometry in small can be worn on the body, or when enlarged, can divide and adorn a room.

This fluidity in scale – and hance in function – is the hallmark of involving digital means in the design process, as typically a computer-generated model - while still in the machine - is dimension less. Only at the moment of output; when printing plans, cutting materials or rapid prototyping form, commits the designer fully to a final scale.  

Digital designs now can drive a wide variety of computer based manufacturing processes, like wire bending, laser cutting or chemical milling – all of which Christian uses.

This shines a light on his model of practice, it is a perfect example for a contemporary Designer/Maker, a successful fusion of traditional and up-to-the-minute skills and competencies.

Christian draws on these skills at all stages of making. From the initial manual sketching to digitally based designing, supported by manually build models, used in his words as “a way of catching a sense of the direction”.

Following the initial sketching, he describes this process as, “I will build 3D models on the computer to explore a space between two dimensional pattern and 3D volumes and to explore the way the forms respond to movement.” “This is always an iterative process that is preceded and followed by physical model making and or prototyping in the workshop.”

I enjoy being shown that one can freely traverse scale and function and from this follows, to also traverse professional fields – the boundaries of design, craft or art appear porous in Hall’s practice.

His shelves and in particular his stools remind me of another Australian born artist who also applied his creativity across different fields - Clement Meadmore. Now mostly known for his very large steel sculptures, has designed furniture using metal rod while still living in Melbourne.

There would be so much more I could say about Christian’s works especially, his considered application of the Moiré effect. This intriguing visual play, amplified though our movement seems to generate shifts in depth and texture. I invite you to explore the work on display and be activated by it.

I will finish with Christian’s own words:

“Design, all design, from civic to architecture, from furniture to fashion from web to jewellery and everything in between plays a role in ordering our behaviors and making sense of our world, but also in accommodating our need to dream and to play and to feel at home.”(Quote of Hall floor talk 2016 Building blocks at Jam factory).

Also, congratulations to CraftACT for attracting a practitioner of such standing to Canberra and also to Emily Casey for her curatorial input and professional communication.

I pleased to officially declare Christian Hall’s NEXT exhibition as opened.