For the past twenty years, the VIVID Design Awards have been an important platform for Australia’s brightest emerging design talent. Celebrating their 20th anniversary next year, the 2023 awards will be held from 13 – 16 July in Melbourne at Decor + Design & the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF), Australia’s premier trade destination for the design and furniture industry.
The standard of VIVID entries in 2022 was higher than ever, judged by a panel of industry experts in partnership with Laminex, Artichoke, Dulux, Authentic Design Alliance, Houzz, Showroom by Bowens and the Design Institute of Australia. Talented Adelaide-based designer Alexandra Hirst took home the 2022 Object Design Award for her stunning Juicy Juicer Series.
Alexandra’s journey to become a designer maker stemmed from an early interest in art and craft, which led to her studying sculpture at UNSW Art & Design. She was first exposed to glassblowing on an academic exchange to America and was captivated by the physicality and collaborative nature of the craft. This propelled her to get her Masters in Glass at Edinburgh College of Art, and then to the JamFactory as an associate in their Glass department.
“My practice as a maker mostly focuses on sculptural objects and artistic expression. I’m very interested in the repetitive patterns and cycles found in nature – I find the transparency and optical qualities of glass make it the perfect medium to explore these themes.”
Alexandra says that her design approach has in some ways been realised out of necessity. “I get a lot of inspiration from the material qualities of glass, and the tools that I have available to me to work with the material often inspire my art & design.”
For example, Alexandra developed a body of work that explores etchings on glass, which came about because of limited access to hot shop (glass blowing) facilities during the pandemic. This exploration has been incredibly successful and is now a cornerstone of her practice.
Alexandra says that the Juicy Juicer Series was also designed out of necessity after receiving an abundance of lemons during citrus season in 2021.
“I thought it would be interesting to explore making a juicer out of glass. After many, many tests, and many lemons juiced, I created two variants – the ‘Juicy Bowl’ is a solid glass ‘juicer’ mounted to a low bowl that collects the juice, while the ‘Juicy Junior’ is a handheld variant. The solid juicer element of each piece highlights the optical qualities of glass and provides a sturdy point of contact for juicing.”
Each piece is hand blown by Alexandra at the JamFactory in South Australia. Juicy bowls come in four different colours: Pink, orange, blue and yellow.
Alexandra has been busy post-VIVID, with two exhibitions currently showing. She is a finalist in the Broken Hill outback art prize with a glass installation called “Down the Oodnadatta track”. The other is an exhibition for emerging Australian glass artists at Wagga Wagga Glass Centre.
Other upcoming shows before the end of year are a collaboration with the ceramicist Mirjana Dobson at the Hahndorf Heysen Prize and an exhibition at the JamFactory about Alexandra’s artist’s residency at the Central Craft centre in Alice Springs this winter. Next year, she will keep developing her artistic practice through a residency at Canberra Glassworks.
“I’ve also been approached by a chef in Melbourne to collaborate on some drinkware. I see a lot of ties between my art & design practice and fine dining, so this is a really interesting space for me!”
Alexandra says that the 2022 VIVID Design Awards were a great opportunity for her to showcase her work and reach a different audience. “It’s always nice to get some recognition, and the Juicy series has since been featured in several design magazines!”
View more of Alexandra’s work at www.alexandrahirst.com or on Instagram @alexandrahirstglass
The 20th anniversary edition of VIVID Design Awards will be held from 13 – 16 July 2023 at Melbourne Exhibition Centre, as part of the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) & Decor + Design, Australia’s No.1 Interiors Trade Event. Subscribe now to receive updates on VIVID, as well as other features and exhibitors at the show.