The distinctive aesthetic of Dinosaur Designs - an Australian design label that makes alluring homeware and jewelry out of resin, has endured for over 30 years. Founded back in 1983 by artists/creative directors Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy, who met in art school and launched their first wares at a market stand in Sydney’s Paddington Market, the duo’s creations have since found their way into design institutions like London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Sydney’s Centre for Australian Design, amongst many others.
Every Dinosaur Designs piece has been lovingly made by hand in Australia. Crafted by pouring acrylic resin, which behaves very much like paint when wet, Olsen and Normandy have been able to imbue their artful objects and jewelry pieces with a quixotic, ephemeral vibe.
Boldly colored, organically shaped and generally smooth to the touch, every Dinosaur Designs piece has drawn from nature for its inspiration. The label’s latest collection, which is named Riverstone, references the smooth, rocky forms found on the riverbeds of Australia. The palette, a rich mix of burgundy and forest green shades, chalky white tones and creamy earth tones, similarly embodies the warmth of Australia’s natural landscape.
Ranging from matte Skipping Stones vases, which mimic the flat, slender forms of polished river stones, to rounded edge butter plates that pair vibrant shades with pale smoky spirals working their way across the surface, the collection’s sculptural forms possess an enviable sensuality that instantly animates the table. Necklaces, earrings and chunky bangles similarly follow suit with mineral-like forms, mismatched rock beads and natural formations, which look realistic but are surprisingly light to wear.
Best of all, the Riverstone collection concurrently heralds the launch of Dinosaur Designs’ first trio of handbags. To make each bag, resin is poured, cast and polished by hand at the label’s Strawberry Hills studio in Sydney. Simply put: no two pieces are alike. Each bag is cleverly designed with a flat base and elegantly hung on supple cord roping, making them ideal accessories for evening use. Invitingly tactile, while also able to stand on their own and teamed with geologically-inspired patterns, who could seriously ask for more?
Words: Pei-Ru Keh
Photography: Derek Henderson