Designer Fred Ganim combines smooth lines, wry humour and practicality.
Fred Ganim was predestined to become a designer. His parents were active aesthetes who built up a niche clothing business to become a globally coveted brand in the 1980s.
His dad, Anthony, was a savvy entrepreneur, while his fashion designer mum, Rae, radicalised printed textiles with a sophisticated ‘kook’ element that pre-empted the patterning of Italian brand Marni by more than a decade.
“I thought it was situation normal, but my everyday was actually exotic and while I may think I design intuitively, I can read Mum and Dad in all of this.”
Referring to an eight-piece collection of hand-crafted limited-edition furniture that speaks to both digital natives and “20th-century nostalgics”, the Melbourne- based designer claims to come at his craft from a familial context rather than any fashionable conceptualism. Indeed, the plain naming of every piece proves his point. ‘The TV Tabernacle’ is an elegantly proportioned cabinet, its name nodding to the small screen as the object of modern worship, while the ‘Do Not Sit’ chair is so-called because “Mum sat on it before it was sealed”.
‘The Dump Pole’ — an easy-to-wire totemic piece “that can take whatever you want to dump when you walk through the door” — is a pragmatic prop with circular platforms and hooks (for stashing keys, coats and so on) that makes you wonder why nobody has thought of it before. “It can fit any ceiling height and circumstance,” says Ganim. “It works well in this fit-to-my-size world.”
Such obliging flexibility repeats in the brilliant ‘Book Display’, a modular backless unit that does double duty as a room divider. But there’s more matter-of-factness in the stadium-shaped ‘Double Arch’ dining table, which features a centre slit and a round-edge retro vibe that recalls the space-age aerodynamics of the 1970s — think Italian designer Gae Aulenti meets George Jetson.
Since the collection’s launch in August 2015, Ganim’s furniture has garnered effusive reviews, dealer representation and even a commission from a ‘serious’ collector. But the series runs are small, so we suggest acting now or forgoing a future collectable.