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Paradise Structures x MHD x Craft Cubed

We are thrilled to be once again participating in the Craft Cubed Festival, this year exhibiting the amazing and diverse work from one of our newest designers in store, Paradise Structures

Alana and Annabelle Kingston, the siblings behind the art/design/fashion collaboration that is Paradise Structures, have transformed Monk House with their installation taking the humble vase as a starting point. Their display of various holding structures and devices, made from a diverse range of materials, challenges one to reevaluate the collection of clothing, ceramics and furniture and how or what they can hold and carry.

We chatted with the lovely sisters and asked them a few questions about the beginnings of Paradise Structures and the installation in store.

Aside from the fact that you are sisters, what drove you to begin Paradise Structures and how long has the art/design label been operating?
We were making jewellery and bags separately and people we knew started requesting them. Then we collaborated on clothing to match Annabelle's art school grad show and officially started Paradise Structures in late 2012.

What would you say is the ethos behind Paradise Structures pieces?
Our pieces have or allude to having more than one function, or sometimes they transform an idea of what an object’s function could be. For example, a bag that doubles as a vase, or a rope ladder that is really meant as a hanging storage device. A lot of our stuff is born out of an experimental approach that often means our attempts could be looked at as failures if you consider what we were originally setting out to do. But if pieces don’t turn out the way we intended, they can often take on a bit of humour instead – like a vase with a hand on it so you can share holding its weight with an imaginary person.

What is the most exciting aspect of running your own business?

Seeing the finished pieces because we can have an idea but we’re never 100% sure how it will turn out. And working for ourselves is pretty awesome too. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your current range in store?

We started off making quite rudimentary vases, just as an experiment to try working a bit differently to how we previously worked with clay. So we started with this form of the vase and expanded on it to create a whole collection of holding devices like bags (for holding stuff) and dresses (for holding humans). We love the idea that the arrangement someone chooses for a vase, or how someone decides to wear the dress ultimately decides how it looks, so even though they are finished pieces, they still go on to look and be used differently according to the end user.

Can you tell us a little bit about what has inspired your installation as part of Craft Victoria's satellite event Craft Cubed at Monk House Design?
Taking the vase as a starting point for a collection that ended up as more than just vases fitted really nicely into Craft Cubed’s theme this year of ‘a better blueprint’. Something we find fascinating is to think about what would something look like if it hadn’t been invented or made yet, or you had never seen one before? But of course you’re always looking backwards in order to move forwards; you have to look at what’s been done in order to improve it. So initially we made a couple of earthenware vases that inspired the rest of the pieces you can see in Monk House Design at the moment.

The installation runs from August 1 - August 31. Be sure to drop by and check it out.

Photos by Jason Hamilton