Meet the Designer - COCO REYNOLDS
5 Minutes with Coco Reynolds, designer behind MARZ DESIGNS
I don't recall being particularly design savvy in my early years but I've always had a passion for the arts and creativity was encouraged at home and school. We grew up in a remote part of the upper Hunter Valley where television reception was very poor so we resorted to entertaining ourselves. I suppose this is where it all started.
What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?
I love creating things that people can use, something that can enhance their lives in some way, not necessarily something grand or profound but things that people can simply enjoy. I like to design with a little bit of the unexpected, to take ordinary objects and rework them. The conventional reconfigured and made beautiful through good design and the unexpected use of materials.
What comes first - the materials or the design idea?
I don’t really have a set starting point. I really enjoy exploring with tactile materials but ideas can also stem from a found object or something I’ve seen or experienced on my travels.
Do you work in a sustainable way?
We try to as much as possible and we do this by minimising our waste throughout the entire design process. We also value designs which are long lasting, sensitive to our environment and promote the movement against ‘throwaway-ism’. Our aim is to design products which are not too much ‘of the moment’ and that will survive the test of time.
What part of the process excites you the most?
I get so much enjoyment from the developmental process of a design, watching it grow from an initial idea to finally a finished product.
What would you say are your values and ethics when it comes to designing
I like to design with a little bit of the unexpected, to take ordinary objects and rework them. The conventional reconfigured and made beautiful through good design and surprising use of materials. Functionality and quality are also important to me and I enjoy experimenting with different mediums and combinations of materials.
Have you faced any problems during your career? in the industry?
The relaxed nature of the IP protection laws in Australia pose a constant challenge. Under current laws, a design must be registered before it is put into production or is seen in the public domain. If the design is not registered before this, the design is not considered ‘new’ and the designer loses the ability to register the design and it can be legally copied. One of my first ever products released fell into this category unfortunately and I lost the ability to protect the work. As a result unsophisticated versions of this product can now be purchased at various retail stores for a fraction of the price, in sub-standard materials. Essentially, an independent designer like myself designs, produces and tests a product in the market which carries the risk and associated costs. Large companies, like Temple & Webster cherry-pick designs they observe to be successful. In effect, we designers prove the success of the product in the market place and these products are then stolen for a risk free and easy return. I believe we need to challenge and redefine the laws to enable the creative industries to flourish, where innovation is encouraged and supported. We should look to the UK and their changes in legislation which protect designers’ creative endeavours for up to 70 years and makes registration financially accessible to all.
What appeals to you about selling your work with a store like VELA.life?
Vela’s collection consists of some of the most incredible world class designs so we’re delighted to be in such good company.
What’s next on the horizon?
We have a few new products coming out this year but we’re mostly excited about working with a local ceramicist on a new lighting range.
Your favorite designers?
There are so many, but just to name a few:
- Oki Sato, Designer, Nendo
- Dieter Rams, Industrial Designer, Braun
- Sabine Marcelis, Artist & Designer
Success is getting through those setbacks, when you’re told it won’t work, just try another way.
What was the best design advice anyone gave you? (or your advice?)
"You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction.” George Lorimer