"radio" from Daniel-Emma shapes

Guest Contribution by Vera Tay Shumei

So tell us, how did Daniel-Emma all begin?
We met while studying Industrial Design at the University of South Australia. After finishing design school we both moved to London where Emma worked for “Thorsten Van Elten” and Daniel for “Committee”. As our visa’s for the UK drew to an end we decided that we wanted to have an exhibition of work……then it just turned into ‘our’ work and Daniel Emma was born.
Describe us an event you personally feel was responsible for propelling you into the design world.
Not a single event sparked this, more little signs that this was the right thing to do….because we didn’t enjoy anything else!
What sparked off ‘Shapes’?
We arrived at the ‘shapes’ concept after a really long walk up a big hill…….there was lots of brainstorming and one idea just led to the other. We had lots of different ideas but we needed a focus that would create a unity between the products. Basic shapes seemed to pop up in all of our ideas, hence ‘shapes’.

How have your experiences abroad and in Australia influenced your work?
Without a doubt we would be very different designers if we hadn’t had our time in London. London provided us with valuable insight into the design world, good and bad, whilst Adelaide keeps us level headed and enjoying life.
What else inspires you?
Life, anything and everything, some old junk, some beautiful clean design, lovely friends and each other.
In reference to the wallpaper interview where you were asked - who would you most like to work with: it sounds corny but each other. What is it about the other which spurs you on?
Our differences; we are from the sublime to the ridiculous…….out of control to really grounded, loud and quiet, energetic and lazy!! It is these contrasts that make our work the way it is. There are also similarities, the same goals and ambitions, same taste and eye for detail; it’s just a perfect mix, like cheese and pickles.

 "radio" from Daniel-Emma shapes

What exactly do you mean by your products aim to be ‘just nice’?
Simple, basic design. There is a certain pleasure in designing a product that hasn’t been over embellished, it is what it is, functional, attractive products that serve a straightforward purpose.
What is the craziest thing you hope to achieve through your work ?
World domination! Also to be able to work from Adelaide, Australia.

 "dinnerset" from Daniel-Emma shapes

This has only been your first collection but you two have already received so much acclaim: Grand prize nomination at Tokyo design week, numerous features in design magazines etc. That must all be great, but what else do these mean to you?
It is reassurance that what we are doing is on the right track, that people actually like our work which is flattering. It gives us confidence to keep designing!
What’s in the future for Daniel-Emma?
New work that will be finished in the next few months based on SOLID forms which we will take to Sydney, Melbourne and London Design weeks. The work will be colourful!

 "fan" from Daniel-Emma shapes

The shapes of Daniel To and Emma Aiston

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