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  • Writer's pictureJames Treble

Australian Design: James Walsh

Our world is an endless resource of inspiration and ideas, and traveling around Australia and overseas, provides me the great opportunity to visit beautiful places, experience different cultures and to view and better understand old and new trends in both housing and design. When in Milano last year, for the Salone Del Mobile, one of the largest design fairs in the world, it was with great pleasure, but no surprise, that I saw beautiful Australian Design displayed side by side with the world's best.

And it is in Milan, where he was exhibited with a selected group of Australians, that James Walsh's work firstly left a strong impression on me. I again wondered at his work in Melbourne, whilst this time also meeting and talking with him in person, when he was selected and acknowledged at the VIVID awards in 2017 Decor and Design.

James Walsh with his and Ash Allen’s Igneous light. Photo courtesy Caitlin Mills

James Walsh with his and Ash Allen’s Igneous light.

Photo courtesy Caitlin Mills

James Walsh is newly based in Sydney, and as part of my Australian Designers and Makers Interview Series, I've asked him a few questions so you too can get to know more about him and his design ideals.

So, James, tell us a brief history of your design journey: "My design journey started while studying at RMIT, doing Product Design. This is where I first began designing, making and experimenting. Working predominantly with furniture and lighting during my studies I always thought that practical experience at a studio would be a great way to break into the design scene, so over the course of my degree I managed to find work with Ross Didier, Johnathan Ben-Tovim and Dowel Jones, who were all great mentors. Now in my second year out of Uni, I have exhibited my work in Milan during Design Week, as well as been involved in various design competitions and have been fortunate enough to win a couple awards."

James Walsh and Ash Allen’s Igneous Light

James' business produces objects that continually explore new materials and processes, while highlighting the process through film or documentation. As his business looks at exploring unique approaches to design, it revolves closely around made to order and limited edition production, as much of what he creates cannot be replicated by common means of manufacturing.

How do you describe your style? "Fun, experimental and process driven."

Where do you get inspiration from? "Inspiration for me usually comes from seeing the ordinary from a different perspective, which can happen in just about any environment. As for designers that have inspired me to pursue design, Max Lamb, Phil Cuttance and Formafantasma are just a few that continually demonstrate speculative and explorative work."

James Walsh Design

Are there must-have elements in your designs? "When designing a new product the ‘must have’ is that I'm learning and applying my knowledge and skills in a way that is original... the material that I like to work with can be just about anything, but I aspire to use them in a way that hasn't been done before, or that produces interesting outcomes."

Recently James began researching into the possibilities of extruding grout using a caulking gun. This is just a common material that is used for sealing tiles in bathrooms and can be purchased from any hardware store. However, James has been applying this material by hand, pumping it around a mould to form vessels. Similar to 3d printing, these objects are formed by building layer upon layer. However with the handmade influence many voids are created to allow light to pass through the form, creating a very playful object.

Through the particular materials he employs and the hand-made techniques he applies, James Walsh adds to his design a twist of uniqueness that cannot possibly be duplicated, making each item he creates 'one of a kind'. His creations are as explorative and unique as they can be and his forms allow the simplicity of good design to showcase the natural beauty of the materials he uses.

It's both exciting and an honour for me to share his journey and beliefs and I trust, like me, you too are looking forward to seeing where his creativity will take him next.

Relevant achievements/awards:

VIVID Lighting Design Category 2017 - Winner

IDEA Award for Emerging Lighting and Furniture Design - Winner

See more of his design at and follow him on

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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