Having whet our appetites at last year’s edition, this year we are pleased as punch to be an official DENFAIR Media Partner. As Australia’s largest contemporary design and art trade event it’s a place to get to know who is making waves both locally and internationally and discover the next household names of design. Held over three days with the third day open to the public, DENFAIR 2017 promises to again bring together architects, interior designers, stylists and retailers in the one space to exhibit, present and connect with each other.
As we warm up for the event itself we’re profiling a handpicked collection of designers who will be exhibiting at DENFAIR 2017. Today we feature Ben & Kiri Wahrlich, founders of award-winning New Zealand-based lighting and design company ANAESTHETIC.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to founding ANAESTHETIC.
We met in Christchurch, NZ, through a mutual friend while we were both studying design.
We have both been creative types since we were very young, having both studied design in our late teens. We have also both been working professionally since our early 20’s. Kiri’s background is Graphic Design and Print Production, she freelanced in Sydney for almost 10 years for a vast range of advertising agencies and not-for-profit charities. Ben has worked across a range of product design firms and architectural companies in Sydney before we launched ANAESTHETIC.
Being based in Christchurch, why did you decide to manufacture in Melbourne?
We founded ANAESTHETIC in Sydney in 2011 where we operated for 5 years until recently relocating to Christchurch, New Zealand in January of this year (we originally left NZ in 2006 and moved to Sydney). Our lights have always been made in our Sydney studio, however we recently partnered with a Melbourne based manufacturer who oversees our production while we are based overseas. This has given us the opportunity to spend more time with our kids and family, enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and breathing space – completely opposite to the life we were living in Sydney!
Your pieces carry a high standard of materiality. How important is the materiality in your design process and how do you secure these materials?
Our design process is material-led, starting with raw, solid metals with proven longevity which enables us to create products that are designed to last generations. The materials we use are fundamental to the design itself.
What should buyers look for in choosing the perfect contemporary lighting piece for their home?
If it’s for their own home you would want to look for solid, honest materials and designs that feel timeless. Original, designed pieces will always hold their value.
Is there a product you are most proud of or that represents your design approach best? Why?
Our Constellation range is the perfect all rounder, we offer 6 different configurations which makes it versatile across a vast range of interiors.
The range carries a story – each light is based on star patterns within the Southern Hemisphere.
What opportunities at Denfair are you most excited about and what other designers are you looking forward to checking out at the event?
The opportunity to showcase our lighting range in its entirety, something which we haven’t done at previous fairs. The local design community is very tight-knit, it’s always great to catch up with everyone and see what they’ve been working on over the last 12 months.
What’s up next for ANAESTHETIC?
We are launching our new ‘Pillar’ range of lights – we are introducing a new material to the range which we haven’t used in our other products to date. We are excited to be moving into the New Zealand market, the move has given us the time and breathing space to take a step back and focus more on design rather than the hands on production side of things.
You can visit Ben and Kiri amongst the stellar lineup of designers, makers, stylists and retailers at DENFAIR 2017. Register for tickets here, or find out more our reader tours with our Editor in Chief Sian MacPherson here.