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If there is one thing I totally endorse it is the use of made-up hybrid words in everyday language. One of my many favourite hybrid words is ‘bromance’. To me this word conveys an enthusiastic camaraderie shared between two blokes, and today’s New Kids on the Blog candidates exemplify just that. Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch are the boys behind , an extension of their design collective with Andre Hnatojko. Under the Dowel Jones umbrella the pair design and manufacture lighting and furniture right out of their new Thomastown studio, which they also built themselves. I should also mention they are only 22 and 24 respectively. It’s okay, we're feeling pretty inferior too after discovering their many accomplishments.
Dale and Adam met while studying Furniture Design at RMIT, and then went on to take Honours in Industrial Design together. The 'bromance' developed pretty quickly, as this industrious pair bonded over their shared passion for design. Deciding to combine their varied skill sets, the pair presented their first product, Mr. Dowel Jones, an impressive flat-packed table and floor lamp made from timber dowels and rubber, at London Design Festival last year. Since then, they’ve also added to the line-up the Dr. Spinner pendant lamp and Swing stool. ‘Adam’s background is more on the manufacturing end of design, whereas mine is along the creative side, so together we work really well’ notes Dale.
Passionate about keeping things local, Adam and Dale approach the design of each new product by first assessing whether or not they will be able to manufacture their concept entirely in Australia. The pair says, ‘We don't develop a product or a range off an idea of form or colour, but around a manufacturing process that we believe we can achieve in Australia, and as we're still quite new to the game we're trying out as many as possible!’
The hub of Adam and Dale's creative output happens in a brand new studio that they only recently moved into – Dowel Jones HQ is found in a mezzanine built with their bare hands above a rubber factory in Thomastown! Previously, the pair worked from a studio in Fitzroy that they say was 'too nice to actually use', the boys wanted to move into a more industrial space to allow for more experimentation with prototypes and manufacturing, and to really expand the opportunities for their fledgling design studio. ‘Our friend and manufacturer Ash Allen offered us the mezzanine of his rubber factory in Thomastown, and we decided to build the entire studio from scratch,’ Dale says. ‘Our studio is now located in the factory that produces the rubber parts for our Mr. Dowel Jones light, allowing us to also experiment with rubber for other projects.’
Besides running their own little entrepreneurial enterprise, Adam and Dale have also just started teaching at RMIT in Industrial Design. ‘A lot of the students are the same age or even a bit older than us!’ Dales admits. ‘We teach design for self-employment, and we're incredibly excited to help out early-career designers develop products and hopefully help them produce products for everyone to enjoy.' Now we just need to wait for their story to land in the hands of a Hollywood screenwriter and turn the inspiring story of two industrious young lads from Australia into a summer bromance blockbuster.