In Conversation with Helen Kontouris
Stylecraft: You’ve won several awards, collaborated with leading brands and designers both internationally and locally; what has been your career highlight to date?
Helen Kontouris: Having one of my chairs acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for their permanent collection.
Stylecraft: Your Softscape range was designed in a way that it suits both commercial and residential application; what makes the range so adaptable?
HK: I think the products within the collection allow for flexibility within so many needs and environments. I wanted to make sure people had the freedom to create exciting and conversational spaces using our seating system. The forms within the Softscape collection can break away into smaller areas suitable for home or more extensive scapes as needed.
Stylecraft: Your collections are all designed and manufactured in Australia; why is this important to you?
HK: I feel it’s essential to support the manufacturing industry in Australia. It’s also vital to oversee prototyping and production with the immediacy of seeing the products regularly, which is very difficult to do well when producing offshore. I also enjoy supporting Australian businesses, and together our local industry grows.
Stylecraft: Tell us about your Botanical screens; they appear ideal for apartment balconies and bringing the outdoors – in?
HK: The concept was to design a screening and planter solution that feels friendlier and more connected to nature. Mimicking the organic sensibilities of nature, the design intent was to be sculptural in form whilst plants have time to mature, resembling trees with vascular branches. The collection allows the climbing plant to flourish around the screen.
Your design hero: Achille Castiglioni.
Your next holiday destination: Thailand.
You can’t live without: Mushrooms.
Favourite home-cooked meal: Anything with truffles in it.
Favourite piece in your home: A piece of art my husband bought for me by one of my favorite artists.