Franco Crea: On The Rise

As a finalist in Launch Pad 2013 local furniture designer Franco Crea is a name to watch and his new Mesa collection is starting to turn heads.

As a finalist in Launch Pad 2013 local furniture designer Franco Crea is a name to watch and his new Mesa collection is starting to turn heads. When the finalists were announced for this year’s national Launch Pad emerging designer competition Franco Crea wasn’t even aware that he was one of them. It was a call from his brother that alerted him to the good news and lucky for Crea he was sitting down at the time. “I was in shock,” he admits. “But I felt really privileged to be shortlisted. It’s a big honour and for me it’s an opportunity to get my name out there.” The furniture designer has been hard at work on a number of different collections in his Parkside studio for the past two years. But it was Mesa, a table and stool collection suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, which ultimately impressed the six Launch Pad judges. He beat over 150 entrants to earn a place in the final 11, and as the only Adelaide-based finalist his success shines a spotlight on the city’s flourishing design industry. It also recognises Crea as a designer of elegant precision. He values symmetry and strives for a clean, uncomplicated aesthetic that reiterates his considered approach. “I try to design very simply using a limited number of materials so that what’s on show is the detail,” Crea says. “I deliberately don’t design complicated products so there’s nothing to hide and that’s something I really pride myself on.” Mesa is created out of high-pressure laminate, a durable material often used in the building industry as cladding. Crea enjoys working with manmade materials and the laminate’s fine aesthetic coupled with its inherent strength allows for great versatility. What is most impressive about Mesa is that the table and stools are constructed without fixings or fasteners; each is held together by a series of sturdy joins that take advantage of the material’s robustness. The collection may be undoubtedly good looking, and with the laminate’s black core adding an elegant yet restrained accent to the overall design, there’s no doubt it will have commercial appeal. But for Crea Mesa’s real significance lies in its commitment to local manufacture, an important design consideration the Marleston TAFE graduate, who also studied interior architecture at the University of South Australia, is passionate about. “Everything I design is manufactured in Adelaide,” he says. “And ultimately, Mesa is my little way of trying to keep local manufacturers in business.” Sustainability is also at the heart of Crea’s design philosophy. Up to 95 percent of the laminate sheet from which Mesa is cut can be optimised, keeping wastage to a minimum. Schiavello has been quick to recognise the collection’s many fine attributes and it is now stocked in limited edition in their Adelaide store. Should Crea win Launch Pad Mesa will most certainly go into production. The winner will be announced during Saturday in Design in mid-August and regardless of the outcome Crea is excited at what the future holds. “If Mesa is getting some attention then it makes me think you’ll be seeing other collections that I’ve got in the pipeline in the next few years,” he says. What is for certain is that Crea is a name to watch. With his star well and truly on the rise it will only be a matter of time before his designs are stocked nationally.

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