Design for LifeGrant and Mary Featherston
Grant Featherston (designer and maker), R152 Contour chair (1950) designed, hardwood, plywood, linen, (other materials), purchased 1955, © Grant Featherston/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
“Spectacular” – The Age
This exhibition explores the career of Grant Featherston, arguably Australia’s most significant modernist designer, and his partnership with Mary Featherston, who is renowned for her design for children. Beginning with the question of what stimulated a country boy to become a designer in the late 1930s, it charts Featherston’s rise to celebrity status in the 1950s and how his work captured the imagination of ordinary Australians in their quest to be modern. Tracing his explorations of new materials and technologies and production of innovative furniture throughout the 1960s and 70s, the exhibition and accompanying publication highlight the holistic nature of his practice, which included interiors, exhibitions, photography, glass, sculpture and promotional design.
An unapologetic idealist, Grant Featherston believed design should benefit all and campaigned for professional, aesthetic and environmental standards. He shared this vision of design for life and social responsibility with his partner Mary, with whom he established Featherston Design in 1965. Beginning with the Montreal 1967 Expo Chair they focused on culturally and socially significant projects, and experimented with the potential of plastics to produce beautiful, affordable design for all.
As part of the exhibition Swinburne University hosted, Beyond Nostalgia: Designing for Change, a panel of design experts who explored key social issues in contemporary design practice before taking questions from the audience. Presented at Swinburne University on Saturday 8 September 2018.
Listen back to our recorded art talks with artists, curators and guest speakers and read the exhibitions press features below.
Spectacular furniture exhibition is a Feather(ston) in Heide’s cap
Robert Nelson, The Age, 10 September 2018
Review: Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston at Heide Museum of Modern Art
Artshub Australia, 14 July 2018
‘Design For Life: Grant And Mary Featherston’ Exhibition Opens At Heide
The Design Files, 3 July 2018
A Spectacular Update For Mary Featherston’s Iconic ‘Featherston House’
The Design Files, 27 June 2018
Grant and Mary Featherston in retrospect
InDesign, 28 March 2018