Artist and Designer Profile: Bridie Gillman and Alexander Lotersztain
Alexander Lotersztain is one of Australia’s most versatile designers. Born in Argentina, the Brisbane-based designer is the founder of the multidisciplinary studio ‘Derlot,’ that focuses on furniture and interior design, hotel concepts, branding and art direction. Alexander was named by Monocle magazine as one of the Top 25 designers to collaborate with.
Bridie Gillman is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, photography, sculpture and video. Underpinning her work are ideas of place, particularly from her experiences and memories of an Indonesian childhood. Bridie has exhibited in Australia and internationally, and has completed residencies in George Town, Malaysia and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In addition to her practice, Bridie is also a co-director of contemporary art space STABLE.
For the BRISBANE ART DESIGN (BAD) exhibition, on until 11 August, we invited Alexander and Bridie to collaborate for the first time on a new version of Derlot’s iconic QTZ chair, which unified their varied approaches to creativity. Bridie and Alexander recently spoke with us about their process.
Alexander, what was it about Bridie’s work that drew you in?
Alexander: As a designer, I’m always designing with guidelines, certain criteria, or processes that guide the end result. What I love about Bridie’s work is how expressive and free it feels—powerful enough to create an emotional connection with the viewer. For me, this is remarkable.
You work with precise geometry, measurements, lines and surfaces, while Bridie, takes on more of an experiential and abstract response. What’s it been like for both of you to interweave these ideas?
Alexander: I’m naturally interested in learning new technologies and manufacturing processes, and I feel that my collaboration with Bridie also brings opportunities to find alternatives in the way I approach my work and design profession. The conversations we’ve had, and just experiencing her way of thinking and approach to her work, has already inspired me.
Bridie: In terms of the painting itself, Alex has been incredibly trusting of my process. I suppose I met him halfway in our choice of medium, which has resulted in me stepping outside my comfort zone, and leaving my usual medium of oil paint to experiment with powder coating.
Bridie, you often respond to a specific place to inspire your paintings. What memories did you draw upon for this work?
Bridie: I usually articulate a place by colour, and in this case it was quite dictated by the powder coat colours available. I was thinking about my studio surroundings in a pocket of bush in Tarragindi. Alex and I first got to know each other there, amongst the gum trees and scrub, and we’ve since talked a lot about our experiences in different environments. When we first met, I asked Alex what his first thought was when he thought of Brisbane. He said ‘the river’, and well, one of the colours chosen is named ‘mangrove’!
You’ve teamed up for the first time to work on this art and design project for BAD. What is it about collaboration that enriches your practices?
Alexander: It’s very rare to have the privilege to collaborate with an artist such as Bridie. To experience her art and her thinking process is an amazing opportunity to expand my professional horizons.
Bridie: The collaboration has been an incredible opportunity to get to know Alex, and learn more about his process and area of design. Developing the work and determining how to use a completely new medium and process has been very exciting.