INTERVIEW | Multidisciplinary Creative Marlo Lyda

INTERVIEW | Multidisciplinary Creative Marlo Lyda

07 JUN

INTERVIEW

Multidisciplinary Creative Marlo Lyda

As part of Melbourne Design Week, CULTIVER recently showcased Luna, our latest collection, in collaboration with Sydney-based designer Marlo Lyda at MATTERS. Her exquisite new work Turning (Camphor) is about turning overlooked timber into fine furniture via “the meditative craft of woodturning”. The collection comprises a bed (dressed in Luna, of course), stools, a selection of table and floor lamps and accessories, which were all gloriously on display at the historic Villa Alba in Kew over the course of design week.

Not just an exhibitor, but also the curator along with Jordan Fleming, Lyda is a true force of nature, her passion for celebrating makers and their materials is evident in her own designs, as well as within the group exhibitions she curates. She’s been the catalyst for treasured Australian designers being able showcase their work. Read on to find out more about what inspires the multidisciplinary creative and her work.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a designer-maker and curator based on Gadigal land in Sydney. My journey took a pivotal turn when I studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, a school celebrated for its conceptual and hands-on approach to design. It was one of those rare experiences, one that shapes your life in unforeseen and invaluable ways. Upon returning to Australia, I launched my design studio with the Remnants Collection at Melbourne Design Week 2022. Since then, It’s just been a steady process of learning and persisting.  

Describing what I do isn't simple. While I'm working hard to establish myself, my work is a movable feast—dancing between furniture design, the business that entails, curatorial and community-driven management, teaching, and special projects that indulge my passion for material research.

Can you talk about what creativity means to you and where you find inspiration?

Creativity, to me, is about transforming the overlooked into the cherished. It feels like embarking on a contemporary treasure hunt, seeking out materials and techniques that offer a glimpse of a different future. In other words, I don’t see material scarcity as a limitation; rather, intentional resourcefulness is both liberating and deeply inspiring.

Tell us about Turning, your latest work.

"Turning (Camphor)" is a love letter to the meditative craft of woodturning. It started with a conversation about the scent of Camphor Laurel in a turner's workshop—a tree I knew from my childhood in the Northern Rivers. Discovering it was an invasive species, I saw an opportunity to turn a problem into a resource. This collection celebrates Camphor's beauty and proposes a sustainable path forward, turning overlooked timber into fine furniture.

Throughout your practice you’ve worked with myriad materials. Why have you chosen timber for your recent work?

To me, timber, stone, and metal are not so different. While they each require unique tools and techniques, they all tell a story of time and legacy. In all my work, I strive to reveal this intrinsic value and share their stories. The unchecked consumption of these materials is something that deeply concerns me. For this collection, and perhaps by accident, I was particularly drawn to the underappreciated beauty of Camphor Laurel timber. It will likely be a new material all together for my next collection… thats just the way of things when you follow your fascinations.

Tell us about curating (MATTERS) at Villa Alba for Melbourne Design Week 2024.

MATTERS was born in 2023 with my friend and collaborator, Jordan Fleming. It’s been a joy to direct the ethos, visuals, and journey of this platform. MATTERS follows contributors over three stages in three years, emphasizing the importance of time and intention in the design process. Our second installment at Villa Alba in 2024 was a highlight, with audiences deeply engaging with the material stories, techniques, and processes on display. Sharing these narratives with the public is at the heart of MATTERS.

How do you think the concept of craft changes the way we connect with items? How important is sustainability to you?

Making has always been my truest form of literacy; it’s how I search for what is essential in materials and ideas. There is an innate intelligence in our hands, a wisdom accumulated over decades by makers and craftspeople. Embedding this knowledge into my work and the MATTERS platform creates a tangible connection that people can feel. Sustainability is not just important to me—it’s the very foundation of my practice, driving my commitment to using reclaimed and overlooked materials.

What makes a house a home, in your opinion?

For the past decade, my concept of home has been quite transient, with small objects and rituals anchoring me. Now that I’m more settled, curating and shifting these objects within my space allows me to connect with the stories they hold. My home is a place where objects nourish me, and I, in turn, nourish them.

What are your daily rituals?

I'm a swimmer—it keeps me grounded and fit for the physical demands of my work. I also carve out time for reading, either as a morning treat or an evening wind-down. These rituals are moments of personal solace and joy.

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