Melbourne, Australia | Wood: cherry
Vivienne Wong is a Melbourne based furniture maker and designer who established her workshop at the beginning of 2020. Previously a soloist dancer with The Australian Ballet for 14 years, Wong has no formal education in design, having instead trained and worked with a handful of independent furniture makers over the last four years, exploring and self teaching along the way.
'When you work with a material you have to be nuanced to the species and the grain. There’s a certain flow you get into when you’re making and creating that I also experience when I danced. The physicality of working with a material is what I enjoy really.'
The design process
‘When we were told to think about the words, touch, reflection and strength, they all just seemed visceral things that I’d spent a lot of time contemplating. I wanted to approach this from a personal perspective. I was looking at ways I could draw on my experience as a dancer to see how I could adapt that into a piece that had a sense of dialogue.’ As a result Wong began researching proxemic communication, which looks at what is disseminated non-verbally in face-to-face situations. ‘It looks at your spatial arrangement to one another person, to express a thought, or a meaning, or an intent.’
The making of the final piece
Wong elected to use American cherry because of its grain. ‘But really what sold me was the colour. It has a beautiful warmth to it in its pinkish, red hue. I felt that supported everything that I was trying to put into this piece.’ She is used to making her own pieces, so it wasn’t easy handing over the making reins to Evostyle. ‘This is the first time I’ve designed something for someone else to make,’ she says. ‘It has been difficult to take off the making hat and put on the designer hat. I think that was my greatest challenge to be honest.’
The end result
Wong arrived at Iuxta me (which translates from Latin into ‘beside me’), a design for a coffee table made up of four circular tops that overlap and fit together. ‘The repetitious nature of using circles reinforces that sense of feeling like individuals but really being altogether,’ she says. The tops are set on spindles that play with the light. ‘It was a way of creating an ambient feel to it.’