Design & Decoration S01 ep16: Gary Galego, Galego Design, [Sydney]
Interview with Gary Galego
A country like Italy wouldn'be be pioneers of design still today, if they didn't persue different benchmarks all the time but the majority have reached their comfort zone. Whereas here in Australia I think we are not constrained so much with tradition, here in Australia we are able to be more adventurous with our ideas.
I've always done what I wanted to do and what I have felt like doing in my
heart, and that has been to create things, to make things, to use my hands,
Chairs I think, are just probably the most intimate piece of furniture that a
designer can actually design and create. It is the most... the closest piece of
furniture to a persons body, the most difficult, the most challenging. It is a
product that draws the most attention, because I think people have an instant
understanding of the complexity of a chair whereas a table or maybe a
sideboard cabinet or something is a little simpler to produce. Someone
instantly has a comment to say or a reaction when they sit in a chair.
I took the chance of studying industrial design in university. You couldn't pull
me away from the workshop when I was prototyping my designs, I actually
spent most of my time in the workshop making those one off prototypes and
enjoying it immensely.
Architecture, I did consider that, but design, again let me use my real ability
and the thing I enjoy most is to actually prototype my pieces because with my
product as well some of that qualities are that, that they are actually difficult to
manufacture and that they require a lot of skill - in some pieces - and that was
something I enjoyed bringing out.
I was trained at the Canberra school of art where the philosophy is that you
produce a one off piece, and basically it is constructed art and I was very
humbled by my lecturer, by his ability and he was a great inspiration.
I was so determined to do this that I just came across the school by pure
coincidence. I even remember approaching my co-ordinator at school and
asking them how I would go about pursuing a career in design and not even
they could really help me, so I had to do it myself. So after a few years of
studying industrial design and actually stumbling over that arts course in
Canberra, I discovered it. Going back to that question - why Canberra? I think
it is a place that you can actually withdraw from a lot of things in society and
become imbedded in your work.
I always try and pair things back and try to achieve a very fine line,
sophistication with the material. That large influence I have from my art school
background has always taught me to basically first have a real understanding
of the material and then design with that in mind, really.
I am able to, and I don't know if it is a talent or an ability, but I am actually
quite able to visualise the whole product almost to a point where it is
completely final. I think that did not happen right from the beginning but it has
evolved over the past few years.
I went to Milan last year to promote my work and promote myself as a
designer, I took my designs over there,
KM: This is the .....
Milan Furniture Fair, at the Salon Satellite Stand where that promotes new
talent and I had some very serious interest both in my work to manufacture as
it is and also for my ideas as a designer. They reacted very positively, the only
thing was I was a bit disappointed that they did not follow through with their
Most of the known designers do come from a Fine Art background, they have
been sculptures or jewellers and I think that it is important but at the same time
you have to be talented enough to apply those principles to many mediums in
designs and if you can do that then you can be successful.
A country like Italy wouldn't be the pioneers of design still today, if they didn't
pursue different benchmarks all the time but the majority have reached their
comfort zone. Whereas here in Australia I think we are not constrained so
much with tradition, here in Australia we are able to be more adventurous with
A famous acting couple, Judy Davis and Colin Friels - I was quite happy to find
out that they were the first clients that actually purchased a complete setting of
my work. The funny part is that Colin, and that is the sort of guy that he is, has
decided to pick the furniture up himself in his station wagon. I mean, the
furniture is expensive and he has just strapped the furniture to the roof of his
car with tie ropes. Strapped it down and driven it all the way to Kangaroo
Valley from here.
KM: Where is Kangaroo Valley?
Oh it is about 300 kilometres south of Sydney.
KM: You're kidding.
I suppose he would have had quite a few bugs to wipe off the furniture when
he would have got it there, so...
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Gary Galego, Galego Design, Sydney