This issue, we chat to Hamish Munro, a Melbourne based jeweller, artist, and designer with a clean, balanced, and sculptural aesthetic. Hamish takes us through his space set in a building with a fascinating history, tells us about his favourite auction finds, and shares what he’s working on next – it’s not what you’d expect…
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your work in design?
I’m a Melbourne born artist/designer with a background in sculpture. My main focus and practice is centred around my fine Jewellery brand. As well as jewellery, my broader design practice shares a cross over into furniture and object design, as well as other, smaller parallel projects that are generated within the studio.
How did you discover Leonard Joel?
It is a household name in my family. I grew up with both my dad and grandfather frequenting Leonard Joel and other auction houses around town.
Tell us about your Collingwood studio, how did you design the space?
The store is a working space that I’m constantly adapting and responding to. It’s an important space to me as it is an extension of what I’m trying to say and deliver as a small brand and designer. It came at a time where digital expression wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to create space that had feeling and a change in frequency once you stepped in.
The studio and store are situated inside an old food preserving factory, Laver Bros & Co Pty Ltd, built in the early 20th Century. The company supplied Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic expedition in 1911 with 265,000 tins of canned food. I first moved into the studio in 2016 and then shortly after, I opened the store. The store and studio are in the front of the building, in what would have been the factory’s office. The office partitions and soaring fine timber windows and lining boards are still intact, and when designing the space, I couldn’t ignore the building’s original use and the inner workings that such a space evokes.
With the release of the new Joan series this year, I wanted to refine the space again with the introduction of the Venetians and the new large sliding glass cabinet, again drawing upon the ideas of the ‘office’ and orderly systems. I find myself changing the store at the same time that I’m working on a major jewellery collection. I wanted these new adaptations in the space to sit somewhere between a foyer from Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” and perhaps a jewellery heist scene from “Le Cercle Rouge”.
Do you have a standout auction find from Leonard Joel?
Our store counter came from the weekly Salon auction about five years ago, I love it. It’s a simple unnamed Australian mid-century desk, well-proportioned and elegant. I think I paid about $350 for it; it was a steal.
What are you working on next?
I’m looking forward to getting the cogs moving again on a project I started in 2018 called Wool. It’s a slow burning project that pivots around my small flock of pet sheep based in central Victoria, and the wool each sheep contributes every season. The project’s first shear was in late 2019, with the first production series planned for 2020, which was put on ice. We are now coming up to our 3rd shear and soon looking forward to producing our first series with a total of 14 fleeces grown over the past 4 years, ready for processing.
Learn more at hamishmunro.com, follow Hamish on Instagram at @hamish.munro and get to know his sheep and follow the Wool project at @wool.loow
Banner Image: Rings from The Joan Series by Hamish Munro
Photography: Peter Ryle