The 2010 Brit Insurance Design Awards: Breathe Furniture by Helen Kontouris

If we’re honest, for us  Breathe by Helen Kontouris is a bit like US government’s collection of crashed UFOs

It exists.

Just in great secrecy.

Were not sure if the Australian Secret Service is behind the project… but information obviously should not be made public.

Even the alleged producer do not mention it on their website; and that despite the fact Breath was supposed to be launched at Milan in 2009.

We can’t confirm if it actually was.

After a couple of failed starts as an interior designer, Helen Kontouris switched to Industrial Design in 2002 with the establishment of her Melbourne based agency Helen Kontouris Design.  Since then Kontouris has worked with companies as varied as WMF, Coffex and Sunweave and won numerous awards – including the 2009 IDEA  “Product of the Year” award for the Breathe Collection.

It goes without saying however that no text exists from the IDEA Awards.

And that despite the fact that Helen Kontouris also won the “Designer of the Year Award”

What we do know about the Breathe collection is that it is composed of a sofa an armchair and quite possibly a table.

That it is constructed from hand-woven polyethylene strips fixed to an aluminium frame – and that it is top secret.

We’re not at all convinced by Breathe. Not at all. We can well imagine what others find attractive and innovative, but for us it just looks tired and forced.
Or put another way we cannot follow the process that lead to the creation of the collection.

The “mission statement” of Helen Kontouris Design  includes the sentence: “We believe ecology in design today, rests on the role of the designer as cultural architect, creating products with clear purpose, intelligent material appropriateness & function that arrest you with their beauty & promote a movement ‘against throwawayism’.

And we simply don’t see that in Breathe.

All of which probably means that it has good chances of winning the Brit Insurance Design Award.

Assuming any one dares submit any information to the judges.

Breathe Furniture by Helen Kontouris

Chances of winning the 2010 Brit Insurance Design Award: good to middling

Breathe Sofa by Helen Kontouris

Breathe Sofa by Helen Kontouris

Breathe arm chairs by Helen Kontouris

Breathe arm chairs by Helen Kontouris

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6 comments
  1. Paula Kealsebusch said:

    I just don’t agree with your comments about Breathe at all!. The design is just incredible & absolute in form. Which part of the design doesn’t embody the statement?? My research on the web led me to find that it’s constructed from aluminum & polyethylene (both completely recyclable materials). I also read there are no glues used to create the product (Inside magazine issue 58, pg 116) so, I do agree that it’s been hard to find out information about the product on the web however…but the biggest surprise for me is how this designer has won some top awards & she is not as well known yet as some major players globally.

  2. Sarah Cross said:

    I love the design. just stunning

  3. Norman Heal said:

    Just read the article. I have read about breathe in magazines but admittedly there isn’t much on the web. I don’t know why. I like the design a lot. Long live real design & not pretentious rubbish.

  4. Simon said:

    beautiful work. I absolutely love it

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