In summary

  • James Chapman Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) has received the 2020 Good Design Gold Award for his honours project
  • The Good Design Awards is a prestigious internationally recognised program held in Australia every year celebrating exceptional design

Industrial Design Alumnus James Chapman has been recognised in Australia’s 2020 Good Design Awards program for his Honours project, the ‘Kami’ chair.

Reframing a model for sustainable versatility, James’ ‘No-Profile Furniture’ design was selected as a Gold Award Winner from the Next Gen Product category.

Throughout his time at Swinburne, James has focused on a hands-on approach to his studies including working with a range of clients including a six-month placement in Lighting Design.

Industry accolades

The Good Design Awards is an annual Australian program that is globally recognised as one of the most prestigious design awards. The program represents a diverse spectrum of design with 10 specific disciplines across 28 categories, showcasing superior standards of design to a national and international audience.

Having prior knowledge of the awards, James was encouraged by his industry advisor and friend Dale Hardiman to apply. As a founder of the furniture design brand, Dowel Jones, Dale provided expert guidance and feedback on Kami’s design, and the final nudge James needed to submit his work.

James worked on the four-legged stool known as ‘Kami’ as part of his Honours project. 

“While it’s great to receive praise from friends and family, having such a prestigious organisation recognise my work means so much for my self-confidence as a designer. It is absolutely my highlight of 2020 and probably my career so far.”

In addition to receiving the Gold Award, James was also the recipient of the Best Overall Honours Project presented at the Graduate Exhibition in 2019.

“Without the support, feedback and motivation awarded from both Mark Strachan and Denis Smitka, I don’t think I could have achieved the outcome that I did.”

“James demonstrated enormous commitment in perfecting the design of ‘Kami’.  It all required extensive prototyping and countless refinements, but his persistence and diligence have paid-off handsomely,” says Lecturer in Industrial Design and Product Design Engineering, Mark Strachan.

“James is a tenacious student who knows what he wants. He has always worked meticulously to achieve his goals and I have no doubt that he will excel in the design industry,” shares Course Director and Lecturer in Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) Denis Smitka.

Creating Kami

Inspired by a single piece of paper, ‘Kami’ aims to meet compact living needs.

Beginning as a concept for his Capstone project, James dedicated a full academic year to identifying and creating a solution to meet the need for versatile furniture in compact living environments.

Inspired by a single folded piece of paper and living in tightly packed apartments for his first three years in Melbourne, James delved into six months of further research into the strains of communities in similar environments.

“This problem became the basis for the project, ultimately leading to Kami’s main value proposition: a furniture piece that occupies zero space when not in use. “

Easily stored and created to work with small environments, Kami can be easily packed away when not in use.

“The design process of Kami was full of its ups and downs but the most notable point was by running the last stitch down the side of the final full-scale prototype and having it fold up exactly how it had in the mock-ups.”

“The School of Design is so excited to congratulate our recent Alumnus James Chapman on his Good Design Gold Award received for his final Swinburne capstone project: the origami four legged stool ‘Kami’.

This is a beautiful product proposal, combining tactility, elegance, flatpack and full material recyclability. It speaks of youth, versatility and small space transitory living in such an eloquent way – James, you are an accomplished designer,” shares Dean of Swinburne School of Design, Professor Jane Burry.

Upcoming work

James graduated with a Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) with first class honours in 2019, and has since pursued his passion for product development.

Throughout 2020, James has built a website to share his portfolio, collaborated on new projects with freelance clients and has undertaken an intern role with the team at Memobottle.

During lockdown James has viewed the extra time as an opportunity to broaden his design skillset in the field of soft goods products and build his industry knowledge without the typical distractions of day-to-day life.

“My new goal over the next few months is to try to reach out to companies like Bellroy and Crumpler. I’m looking for a chance to learn more and apply my soft goods knowledge in a professional environment.”

To keep up to date with James and read more about his future work, visit his website MoreThanBoxes

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