A Look at Our 2014 Finalists: Joel Roberts and Rene Linssen
In the final installment of our look at the best of this year’s BIA entries, we discover how distinctive style and innovative use of space won designers Joel Roberts and Rene Linssen a place among the 2014 finalists.
2014 BIA professional finalist
This year wasn’t Joel’s first time as a BIA finalist, and we certainly hope it’s not his last. A regular BIA professional entrant and a finalist in 2011 and 2012, the Melbourne-based industrial designer has even seen several of his designs go into production following the competition.
Joel’s 2014 entry, Ciseaux, captured the judges’ attention for its sleek modern style and clever use of space. His distinctive style has an international look and feel, creating a basin, vanity and seating system, cleverly allowing the user to play with its positions and functions according to their own needs.
According to Joel, space and multi-functionality were key drivers for his BIA design. “Space is a huge commodity in many bathrooms and there is plenty of scope for innovative approaches to more effective storage or counter space. With a brief to design furniture solely for use in a bathroom, there is an opportunity to explore more than one function in its design and to integrate it within its environment,” Joel said.
It’s the chance to put his design skills to the test and the platform the competition provides to showcase his work to the world that keeps Joel coming back to the BIA.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to maximise on media exposure. I’ve been lucky just as a runner up to have a company in Romania develop my sink from the 2011 competition. My bath from 2012 has also been made in China and is now being exhibited in Las Vegas. The design world really does look at this competition with keen eyes, and it’s been the case that companies have approached me asking to develop these products,” he said.
“Without this competition, my designs would not have received global exposure.”
Read more about Joel’s past BIA designs here.
2014 BIA student finalist
A keen interest in physics, engineering and architecture led final year University of Canberra student Rene Linssen to designing his technology-inspired entry, Sanctus, for the 2014 BIA.
His sleek, futuristic design cleverly utilises its in-built space to create an exceptional, technology-led user experience and ensures users are ready for the day ahead. With a name derived from the Latin for sanctuary, Rene said that was exactly what he wanted to capture in his design. The interactive mirror in Linssen’s design creates an integrated atmosphere, acting as a central hub, with water conscious intuitive controls and storage space along with LED lighting, music, and WiFi connectivity to allow the user to truly prepare for the day ahead of them. The push drawers and cupboards create smooth lines and keep the surfaces uncluttered while giving the unit a polished look.
Contemplation of the role technology could play in the bathroom experience and the latest developments in smart mirrors were key inspirations for Rene’s design. “I wanted to create the ultimate vanity unit to have in a modern bathroom. I wanted to strip it back and make it simple, display only what I thought would be the essentials. I wanted to incorporate Italian kitchen design aesthetic with a stainless steel feel.”
According to Rene, his participation in BIA encouraged him to reach outside his creative capabilities. “[Design competitions] are important because it really pushes you to be your best. It [encourages] a new way of doing things, which is the essence behind good design.”
Well done Rene. We look forward to more BIA designs from you in future. Stay tuned for more on the 2015 competition soon.