SIMON ANCHER STUDIO
"Observing life and simple pleasures inspire me to have a greater awareness, honesty and respect, traits that constantly inform and influence my studio practice."
Simon is passionate about the appropriate and meaningful use of materials over style. However, it has not been easy to remove the security blanket of conformity. It was after having been a designer for some time, that the turning point came with the design of his ‘Plied Rocker’ made of plywood. With this award winning design, Simon finally felt free from trying to fit in with the prevailing trends. He is now a fervent advocate for the creative entrepreneur, that is, one that creates a market rather than caters to the latest whims. This view takes courage and Simon has been fortunate that he grew up in an environment that allowed him to stretch his creative muscle.
Within a framework of three generations of architects, Simon was always encouraged to draw and create. The first ‘product’ he can recall making was a letter opener carved with an angle grinder from the horizontal pear wood front fence off-cuts. He was five years old at the time and there were to be many more of these home spun products.
In 2000, he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) major in furniture design at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) School of Art in Hobart and established his studio. In 2004 he completed a Bachelor of Environmental Design at UTAS. That same year he began teaching and in 2006 become Director of the UTAS Furniture Design program.
Simon works to strike a balance between operating a professional studio with that of encouraging students to go beyond what they think they can do and build on the knowledge he himself has acquired through his practice. In fact, part of the UTAS program requires students to participate in real life projects not only to develop a greater proficiency of skills, but also to instill a sense of social responsibility through community engagement. A recent example was the design and making of seating, the ‘Bridport Bench’ for the town’s walking trail.
Simon lives and breathes design that extends beyond furniture. Current project investigations include public art installations and converting almost thirty kauri pine church pews originally made in 1856 into contemporary furniture/object works whilst preserving their historical significance. He is also involved in boat building (strip planking and lap stitch and glue construction) in the search of new construction methods for object design. On top of this, Simon is busy developing his own furniture ranges alongside his commission work.
His pieces have been exhibited in several shows including five times in the annual Workshopped exhibition in Sydney. He has won a number of awards including the Premier’s Prize for Best in Show at the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection in 2006 for his ‘Plied Rocker’ and the 2011 Clarence Prize for Excellence in Furniture Design for his ‘Clipped Wing Sideboard’.
“As a designer I feel it is very important to be observant. Amazing solutions and details can be discovered in the most unexpected places. I admire and respect integrity and honesty in design solutions. Design is not something that I treat as a job it's a way of life, I love the challenges and, of course, the successes.”
The Clipped Wing detail was inspired by observing the beautiful upturns at the end of a 747 jumbo wing. The combination of incredible strength and fine delicate edges inspired me to address these particular qualities in a simple bench seat. Shallow chamfers and compound mitres are composed in such a way that creates an incredibly strong series of triangulated joinery.
DESIGN ISLAND PRODUCT SELECTION
'PRECIOUS' CABINET (CLIPPED WING RANGE)
MATERIALS: HMR board, 2 pac finish, steel [powder coated] DIMENSIONS (mm): 900 x 750 x 390
SIMON ANCHER STUDIO