Lauren Lea Haynes

Lauren is an incredible sculptor and furniture designer. Using local and sustainably sourced materials, she is able to create stand-out pieces that compliment any space. These handcrafted sculptures give a fun yet elevated feel with their organic shapes, unique to each piece of art.

We had the pleasure to visit Lauren's studio based in Naarm/Melbourne to talk about her processes and practices.

How has your career evolved? Did you always see yourself getting into furniture design? 

I recently completed my Associate Degree in Furniture Design at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, so my career is yet to evolve! As someone who has always been passionate about design and architecture, I feel fortunate to be able to practice design through my studio, but I would love to return and study further once the time comes. 

It was the NEIS scheme that helped me start my practice during a quiet period in my life, and it took off right away, which was a bit of luck. Although I still have much to learn and many challenges to overcome, so far it's been a great experience.

Your key mediums are Aluminium and Limestone, how did you end up specialising in these?  

A few months after completing a limestone day course, I went from selling to family and friends to starting my own studio. A furniture idea (FOLI) had been brewing for a while as part of a previous project and I was encouraged to develop it further. 

As part of the Associate Degree, I started working with aluminium and new materials I had not studied before, and developed my skills in an industrial design setting, so I could get my work fabricated rather than hand-making every design, with a plan to balance my practice between the two mediums. I also worked with foam, plywood, fabric, and recycled plastics.

Did you ever dabble in any other mediums before perfecting these two? 

I have worked with timber in the past for Heimur Design, another Melbourne-based maker and designer and for myself sculpting from home and my currently studio. 

During my course at RMIT, I loved manipulating plywood into curved shapes that reflected my design practice and accentuated the material. If I had the time and another studio to make a bigger mess in, I would be very much playing around with more timer. 

I currently sculpt timber with electric hand tools and enjoy the process very much, but it makes a huge mess over the limestone, so I have to plan carefully. When the studio is empty enough, I do it as a hobby in my spare time. 

Can you give us a brief run-down as to what the process is for creating your limestone and foli pieces? 

My limestone pieces could not be more opposite to the FOLI pieces in process, but are not dissimilar in their origins. 

My sculpture concepts are very mind-free; Lime One was conceptualised whilst improvising in the studio surrounded by every piece I was working on, trying to find a common theme or expression among them. It was then that I realised I was creating a garden party involving Tulips, rocks, hillsides, and mounds.

Every piece is hand carved and finished in my studio; it is a slow, careful, and meditative process that gives each piece its own individuality. 

Sculpting is done using hand tools, then the stone is sealed with a sealant to provide a tough layer, which is then sanded again to provide a smooth surface.

Throughout the process of designing and prototyping FOLI, I was referring to my sculptures, and I realise I do this quite a bit with new ideas. Whether they are finished or never seen, my sculptures can be a form of inspiration among many others. 

Foli was designed using CAD modelling, which was then sent to my fabricator as technical files. FOLI is formed by laser cutting a sheet of aluminium and bending it using CNC technology. 

Powder-coaters then apply the colour, applying an electrostatic-charged coat of powder that adheres to the metal and creates a durable and uniform finish.

Your work is physically quite demanding! Do you see yourself expanding with a team or do you love being the one creating the craft? 

Yes, I hope to do this next year (2023), with more space and more hands! It’s definitely hard yakka, but I  wouldn't change it for anything.  

In saying that, I like to share the work load and have taught a couple of friends how to make the pieces and how to sculpt recently, and it is very rewarding. In addition, it is nice to have someone around to bounce ideas off of.

Your style is the perfect balance of playful yet elevated, how did you land on this aesthetic?

Thank you, I've always loved art and design that makes me smile, catches my eye through colour or form, and provokes me to think about the material or the process. This is my own little philosophy for what I do, to make people wonder how and why it is made, and to not take it too seriously. 

Everyday and every week, I am inspired by everything around me, and I just try to take in the things that matter to me and that get me excited most and apply that to my own work.

What is next in store for LLH? Any new products you're dreaming up?

To have more room to sculpt and experiment with other materials, I am expanding the studio and hiring a full-time assistant. 

In the new year or shortly after, I hope to bring to light some more aluminium furniture for indoor and outdoor use. I am also planning to exhibit a new limestone finish next year that I have been testing. More things to come, I am looking forwarded to 2023!

Lauren is wearing Piper DressThe Safari Jumpsuit, Lenny Shirt, Lounge Trouser, Dillon Jumpsuit layered over a Billie Tee.