Morgan’s CMYK Chair takes out a suite of Melbourne Fringe Furniture awards

Master of Architecture student Morgan Doty has won the Melbourne Fringe Furniture exhibition prizes for the “Sustainability” and “Student” categories for her piece: the CMYK chair.

The challenge set by Melbourne Fringe this year was: 'Make a statement. Make a difference. It's time to step out of the Echo Chamber', and over 100 designers embraced the concept in the 'boundary-pushing' furniture, lighting, homewares, wearable objects, permanent and ephemeral works on display.

Morgan was inspired by picking a material and process which would push the boundaries of re-using waste materials: paper. Collecting paper and card from newspapers, old assignments and magazines from across the Melbourne School of Design building and the University of Melbourne campus, she moulded pulp  over a digitally fabricated form.

“It was important for me to get the mixture right to showcase the texture and quality of the material.

“I didn’t intend for the piece to be a chair. The form was driven by testing the process to understand the durability and the strength to the material. Once the form was a double curvature and shell structure, turning it into a chair made sense using recycled timber.”

The CMYK chair is a product out of the MSD studio “Ex-Lab: Digital Furniture Fabrication”, run by the faculty’s Fabrication Workshop. For Morgan, it was crucial to have the support of the staff there.

“This was actually the first piece of furniture I had ever created. I’m really grateful for Jas [Johnston] and Adam [Markowitz] who helped me week in week out. They helped me through the entire process from using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine to mixing the materials. I’m also thankful for Josh [Stevens] who helped me with the timber legs.”

Despite being in her final year of study, the experience piqued Morgan’s own interest in furniture making and showed a new perspective on design. “I loved how this was a balance between making and architecture and it is something I’d love to do more of in the future,” Morgan added. “Making makes you think a lot more about the design because you have to ensure it can viably become physical.”

Morgan is a high-flyer inside and outside the classroom and workshop environment, representing Australia in the Women’s baseball team. Balancing these commitments is no easy feat.

“You have to learn how to be flexible and juggle multiple commitments at a time. I’ve also learned to take things a bit slower, so I’ve been doing my Masters part-time.”

Congratulations to Morgan for her outstanding achievements and the faculty wishes her continued success in her pursuits.

You can see the CMYK Chair at the Fringe Furniture exhibition, on display in the Rosina Auditorium at the Abbotsford Convent until October 1. The exhibition is open 11am – 5pm from Wednesday to Sunday.