How It's Made: Behind the Scenes at an Iconic Australian Design Label
Dinosaur Designs is one of Australia's most iconic brands, thanks to its 30-year heritage, focus on local manufacturing, and first-class, handmade designs. Founded by gifted creative duo Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy, Dinosaur Designs is renowned for quality, innovative, and simply exquisite homewares and jewellery made from resin, precious metals, and ceramics. To celebrate the new Black Marble collection, we spoke with Olsen about how their self-made brand was born, their inspiration, and how their sought-after designs become a reality inside their light-filled Sydney studio. Scroll down to learn about the inspiring brand, their working partnership, and the unique creative process.
How did Dinosaur Designs begin?
Stephen and I started Dinosaur Designs in our graduate year of art school thirty years ago. We were good friends for the first two years of school and always used to pair up on projects—we naturally felt very comfortable working together and so it made sense to formalise our partnership and Dinosaur Designs was born.
Dinosaur Designs is now over 30 years old, how has the brand evolved over the years?
Dinosaur Designs celebrated 30 years in 2015. We’ve grown quite organically—it’s in our nature. We have nine stores spanning across Australia, New York, London, online and sell in stores and galleries around the world. We now produce a number of objects made from different materials, including resin, precious metals, agate, glass and ceramics. As a designer you want to keep pushing the boundaries and continue to explore opportunities. We’ve been involved in a number of exhibitions over the years, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Gallery of Modern Art Queensland, Karen Woodbury Gallery in Melbourne, and have collaborated with international and local designers such as Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, Jac + Jack, Toni Maticevski, and Romance Was Born. We continue to dance between the art, design and fashion worlds.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
We are constantly inspired by nature.
Where are your products made? Are they designed and made in-house?
Stephen and I do all the designing—we always have over the past 30 years. All our resin pieces are made in-house in Australia.
Where is your studio located?
Our studio is in Strawberry Hills, Sydney.
Where do you source your materials for the products?
We have our own formula that we have developed over many years, which keeps changing and evolving.
What is your best-selling item?
It varies from season to season, but bangles and bowls are always floating around the top of the list.
Talk us through the process, from start to finish, of creating one of your designs.
Stephen and I discuss stories and ideas and translate them to the sketchbook. Following this, prototypes are made in clay and then cast in resin until we are happy with the final piece. Every piece is made by hand in our Sydney studio.