With over 10 years’ experience, landscape architect Dan Plummer and artist Belinda Smith of Plummer & Smith take a collaborative approach to design. Their designs are often based on observations between people, the landscape, built environment and the interactions which occur in-between. This can be seen in their collaboration with UAP – The Grafted Range, an exploration of material and traditional joinery.
How did Plummer & Smith get started?
Starting our studio was based on a desire to work together (to formalise our informal collaborations), a desire to be autonomous, and to test whether we could establish the type of practice that we thought had something to contribute to the fields of design, art, and landscape. We had a toddler and a 6 month old baby when we started- so its been a busy time, but a lot of fun…
Tell us about the Grafted Range and design — what was your inspiration?
‘Grafted’ is inspired by the idea and methods of grafting one thing to another. The range uses a material suite of stone, timber and brass. Different materials — or different versions of the same material — are grafted together in ways inspired by both horticultural practices and by traditional joinery and carpentry.
Do you have any philosophy when it comes to your work?
BS Make it meaningful.
DP I think being considered and considerate covers most of it…
What is inspiring you both now?
BS Languages of the First People of Australia, plants and kids art and education
DP Leafing through Simpson and Day’s ‘Field Guide to the Birds of Australia’ on our back verandah
Do you have any art or design icons?
BS Claire Doherty, Founder of Situations and Katie Paterson’s ‘Future Library’, a project in Olso curated by Situations
DP Here is a random list of people or things I go back to time and again: Walter De Maria’s ‘Lightning Field’ and ‘Broken Kilometer’ for their precision, Robert Frank for the opposite; Fred Herzog for doing his own thing and waiting for time to catch up, Robert Towne for writing ‘Chinatown’, Sanja Ivekovic’s Poppy Field, Zumthor’s ‘Serpentine Gallery pavilion’ and its garden by Piet Oudolf, Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’…
Any words of wisdom, advice to young designers?
BS find out what you love (it can take awhile), find a way, be patient, have a go.
DP Listen, observe and take your time.
If you were not designing what do you think you would do?
BS A gardener or baker. Growing things and feeding people are my distractions and where I go to procrastinate.
DP When I was a kid I wanted to be a filmmaker or archaeologist.
Get to know more about UAP SUPPLY and how we collaborate with Australian designers and creatives, to create streetscape elements and other functional bespoke elements for the public realm.