The three pieces of furniture in Kennedy Brown's Pacific Allsorts installation continue his exploration of the relationship between the traditional and modern in New Zealand furniture design. This most recent investigation, created for Objectspace, focuses on the blending of traditional Pacific construction methods with contemporary furniture design. Brown states,
"Through materials, process, function and form, I endeavour to express my Pacific homeland, Aotearoa. Merging elements and ideas of old and new, traditional and modern, together with the application of machine and craft, I aim to create objects of originality and beauty."
The Pacific Allsorts range contains a Sideboad, Side Table, and a Coffee Table, constructed using three major elements. A geometric laminated MDF/hardboard form creates the industrial core of the design. The sustainable organic pine legs add a second craft component. The third and crucial element is the aluminium bracket that operates as a modern translation of a form of lashing familiar in Maori and Pacific construction. Brown explains, "This simple solution successfully binds the legs tight up against the planar edges and sides, retaining its reminiscent inspiration - Pacific born structures such as outriggers, sea vessels, huts and storehouses." The Sideboard's proportions and tall legs are inspired by a Pacific outrigger, a type of canoe featuring a lateral support float which is lashed to the main hull in order to increase the vessel's stability on water. The Side Table's dimensions and square body are reminiscent of storehouses found throughout Polynesia which were raised off the ground to impede the entry of rats.
All three pieces constructed with accessible and readily available materials are boldly coloured in a 'Pasifika' palette, giving the pieces a playful vibrancy that evokes the confectionery that the title alludes to. Brown's Pacific Allsorts also mix incongruent materials and cultural signifiers to create a new hybrid form of furniture. He states,
"This harmony of elements and ideas should successfully but subtly create a sense of unity between the multi-cultural New Zealander and the earlier indigenous people, giving respect to each other but working together to create an entirely unique and relevant aesthetic for Aotearoa."
- Rebecca Kunin
Kennedy Brown is an established New Zealand furniture designer. He was a member of Cicada Studios before establishing his independent studio in Auckland. Brown has exhibited nationally and internationally, including in the New Zealand Room at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Most recently his work was included in Furnish - Ten Top NZ Furniture Designers (2011) at The Dowse Art Museum.
Kennedy Brown's work also featured in the 2007 Objectspace exhibition ShowRoom.
This exhibition is part of Art Week Auckland and the associated Emergence event at Art Week 2011.