MILAN PREVIEW: DION LEE x DESIGNBYTHEM

MILAN PREVIEW: DION LEE x DESIGNBYTHEM


The design duo behind DesignByThem, Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis, have this year partnered with Australian fashion designer, Dion Lee, to bring us their new collection - DL.


The DL Lounge Chair and Bench couple the iconic sculptural tailoring recognised in Dion Lee garments with the timeless structural details of GibsonKarlo designs. The outcome? Bold geometric forms with a subtle, fluid movement; it's a brilliant example of the beauty that can occur when the disciplines of fashion and product design collide.




“In a similar way to fashion, furniture takes something functional and purposeful and explores innovation and technique to create something inspiring. I believe Sarah, Nick and I share a technical approach to design and a desire to create.


With any collaboration, it becomes a dialogue between two very different perspectives and technical skill sets. In this instance, it was taking the technique of slashing and weaving, seen in some of our most recognizable products, and translating that into commercialisation." - Dion Lee





The project, three years in the making, will be making its international debut at Milan Design Week this year with the launch of the DL Lounge Chair and DL Bench. DesignByThem's solo show will be presented in the Isola Design District, a celebration of 12 years of producing Australian Design.


“I have always loved the slung leather designs of the Bauhaus era and designing with saddle leather has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I love how the leather is a warm, soft yet structural element of the design. It's a unique quality of this material. We wanted to reference Dion's woven and structured design elements, combining these with traditional furniture making methods to create a visual lightness and interactivity." Nicholas Karlovasitis






"The design originally started with a concept Dion and I discussed during a visit to Milan. The concept has undergone quite a lot of development with six rounds of prototyping and material experiments.


It was important to us that the product demonstrated the experimental aspects of Dion’s work together with our experience in furniture detailing, manufacturing and commitment to creating a timeless design. Our goal was to maintain an openness to the design, whilst keeping the design dynamic, robust and comfortable.”

- Sarah Gibson



The challenge was to translate the movement of wearable materials into a static functional object. Referencing the iconic Bauhaus slung leather furniture typology, the DL Lounge Chair and Bench combine organic materials and angular silhouettes with the use of Italian saddle leather tensioned over a steel frame. Taking inspiration from Dion Lee’s signature weaving techniques, the durable saddle leather is woven throughout the metal frame to construct a fluid yet geometric form.



Available in a range of saddle leather colours with a powder coated or polished chrome frame, the DL Range will be showcasing between April 9th -14th at DesignByThem's solo exhibition for Milan Design Week 2019 in the secluded courtyard of Viafarini Gallery in the Isola Design District.


The show will be a welcome opportunity for international guests as well as traveling Australians to touch, try and meet the new range and designers for themselves.


Find out more about the DL collection here.

Studio photography by Fiona Susanto.

Curated by Isabelle Clark, TLSE

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