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16 Jul 2024

Inspiration Behind Coralescence: A Q&A with Tide Pool Designs

Inspiration Behind Coralescence: A Q&A with Tide Pool Designs
Bloom Cluster

From the depths of the ocean to the heart of sustainable design, Tide Pool Designs' Coralescence collection has captivated audiences with its biomimicry and innovative use of 3D printing. As the highly commended winner of Australia's Next Top Designer (ANTD), Tide Pool Designs is making waves in the design world.

The ANTD competition, held in collaboration with Workshopped and sponsored by Flexmirror Australia, Kanebridge News, and Axolotl, took place from 13-15 June, showcasing and launching the careers of Australia's rising design stars.

Coralescence is a collection born of our love of nature, art, architecture, and cutting-edge technology. 

Inspired by the beauty and joy of discovery we’d found exploring Australia’s stunning coral reefs, we sought to translate these enchanting qualities into everyday life through evocative biophilic designs. Our background in art and architecture has given rise to a passion for harnessing the creative potential of visual programming; a great asset in the pursuit of biomimicry in design when combined with the free-form potential of innovative manufacturing techniques.

An acquisition of a 3D printer and a series of coral-inspired prototypes later; Coralescence was born – and shortly thereafter launched under the banner of our newly founded company Tide Pool Designs. 

With sustainability being a core goal of our design practice, the use of renewable, recycled and recyclable materials is of paramount priority. We use free-form precision manufacturing – namely 3D printing and laser-cutting – to ensure minimal waste production. 

For our 3D printed components, we predominantly use biopolymer derived from renewable, organic sources such as corn starch. As biopolymer is readily recyclable, we collect any print-waste and prototype prints to be given renewed life as filament. 

The layered timber bases features on our Epiphyte Lamps are laser-cut in our Brisbane studio from locally sourced premium plywood produced from plantation pine. Laser-cutting the plywood in-house allows us to strategically re-purpose left-over space into functional homeware offerings and unique sculptural décor pieces. 


Photo: Florasphere

Ever the energetic hub of production and development, our Tide Pool studio has several exciting projects in the works.

To round out our Coralescence lighting collection, we are developing a series of hardwired pendants and wall sconces. Beyond curating an exquisite install-ready lighting series, an adaptable hardwired offering opens a world of potential in custom lighting features and large-scale installations. We envision halls adorned with undulating reef-like canopies; venues intimately illuminated by an enchanting sea of floating coral cells. 

We are also thrilled to be a finalist in the Australian Wearable Art Festival in August, and selected for the SWELL Sculpture Festival in September this year. SWELL will feature our titular Coralescence sculpture; an impressive wave-like formation of our multi-cell GridShell system; curling up from the sand to envelop those venturing within. The Wearable Art Festival inspired fruitful experimentation into 3D printed textiles; the entrancing culmination of which we are excited to bring to the stage and wider applications beyond.

Being able to showcase and personally promote our designs on such a large, prestigious stage as the Design Show in the ANTD exhibit was an amazing opportunity; allowing us to convey the thought, process and passion behind our creations to interested individuals and make many promising connections in a short space of time. 

On a personal level, it was gratifying to witness such an incredible reception to the designs we have poured our heart and soul into developing. From the honour of being bestowed Highly Commended in ANTD, to feedback from the many attendees and exhibitors we met during the exhibition. A resounding encouragement to keep doing what we love and endeavour to get our designs out into the world. 

The biggest influence on our design journey must collectively be the amazing assortment of peers we’ve been privileged to gather over the years. From university lecturers and tutors who inspired an early love of visual programming, sustainability and biophilic design; to the friends and industry mentors who helped us pursue our nature-inspired design dreams by honing our critical design thinking and creative skillsets, whilst offering endless encouragement along the way. 

We must also pay homage to world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid for being a founding inspiration to pursue transformative, truly out-of-the-box design thinking, as well as a key role model to Suzy of the power and potential of women in architecture and design. 

With the Tide

Photo: With The Tide

With a background as practicing architects, our perception of the evolution of Australian and global design has largely been viewed through the lens of how product design has developed in parallel to the architecture it resides in. In today’s design world we often witness globally-unified evolution wherein the most dominant country and place specific design traits stem from response to climate and locally available resources. 

Given our speciality using high-tech 3D modelling and manufacturing techniques, we most often find ourselves looking to design evolution on the global stage, as this is a field not yet to be capitalised on in the Australian design sphere. 

What insights did you gain from showcasing your designs at Design Show Australia, and would you recommend participating in the ANTD competition?

From conversing with attendees and fellow exhibitors at the Design Show, we gleaned many potentially advantageous ideas around elevating our current designs, potential future design direction, and sales avenues we had not previously considered exploring. Excellent insight that will help shape the future of Tide Pool Designs in the months and years to come. 

To any aspiring designers looking to pave their way in the world of Australian design: we wholeheartedly recommend that you participate in the Australia’s Next Top Designer competition – and make the most of the connections and opportunities that are bound to come your way. 

Be sure to check out all the 2024 shortlists here to see the incredible talent from this year's competition! The Australia's Next Top Designer Award will return to Melbourne on 12-14 June 2025. Don't miss the chance to witness the future of Australian design unfold!

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