Duncan Meerding is a lighting and furniture designer and maker based in Tasmania. Much of his work is inspired by the natural environment. His interest revolves around the concentration on overall form, rather than intense detailing, with an interest in how the light performs through and around different forms and materials. The light emanating from the periphery reflects the alternative sensory world in which he designs, being legally blind with less than 5% vision. Yes, you read that right, and yes that’s how amazing he is. We sat down with Duncan to discuss more about his craft and his upcoming projects. Here’s what he had to say…
George Takes Twelve
1. Pleasantries first… Tell us about who you are and what you do?
I design and make lighting and furniture inspired by nature, the making process and the alternative way in which I view the world.
2. When I was growing up I wanted to be….
This answer changed multiple times, I wanted to be different things at different times, everything between a fitter and turner, to a nurse to a social worker.
3. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Do not hide from things that influence your work, embrace them.
4. What is your favourite way to get the creative juices flowing?
Going into nature, getting some peaceful time under a tree canopy, this space often makes me think of ways to resolve a design or especially inspires me on how to design new works.
5. What does your average work day look like?
This has been changing a lot recently. Small business people often are juggling multiple balls at once, this is especially the case when you are making or involved in the making process. I have a workshop in North Hobart, sometimes I will work out of here, resolving a design or making some production pieces, sometimes I will be doing this with another craftsperson or sometimes flying solo. Some other days I will be spending it behind the computer doing paperwork or other computer related tasks.
6. If you could invite any five celebrities to dinner, who’s dining?
Not sure how to answer this one, by the fact that you do not know the persona behind the image choosing a celebrity to eat dinner with is a difficult one.
7. What was the last rule you broke?
Using the same knife for peanut butter as honey.
8. What’s one thing people may not know about you?
Don’t talk to me before I have had coffee.
9. What was the last movie you saw and was it any good?
Bohemian Rhapsody and yes it was. I have started watching different shows and movies and having them with audio description has changed my life. This is a service which is not on everything yet, but look forward to it becoming more broadly applied.
10. You’ve got a week off… where are you headed?
Out bush on a rock climbing trip where I can turn my mobile phone off and ignore the world and hang out with some friends doing activities I enjoy.
11. What’s your favourite project/design so far and why?
My practise recently made some Stump lights for the Choctaw native American Nation. They commissioned 12 stumps representing each tribes within the nation. This project is probably one of the standout ones, I was very excited to be part of this one. I have also had some of my Stump lights commissioned by a range of other clients nationally and internationally, including for Google Singapore, I thought it was a joke when they first got in contact as did my spam filter, but luckily it all worked out in the end and Google Singapore now have 9 Stumps as part of their office fit out.
12. What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects in the pipeline…
There are a few different projects in the pipeline and I am excited to see them come into fruition. Apart from this I am looking at developing some new ideas which I have been working on for a while, I look forward to seeing them come about, including using timber in very different ways for lighting purposes.
Meet the Maker Radio
“The songs on this playlist often come up as some songs I like to listen to in the workshop, especially when doing things like sanding or other such tasks. I also like some of them for their pace, but others I like as they mean something in terms of social justice… I found it hard to select 10 songs that I like across all the different genres that I like.” – Duncan
Where to find him
Photography by Jan Dallas, Chris Crerar, Klaus Lees, Max Ford