If you live in Canberra the chances are very good that you own or have gifted an iconic F!NK jug, platter, beaker or earrings. Or all four.
F!nk + Co. is a much loved and respected Australian design company with an international reputation for producing world-class tableware, hollowware, jewellery and lighting. It was established by Robert Foster in 1993 with the aim of creating a design and manufacturing business to support and generate opportunities for Australian designer-makers.
F!NK challenges the notions that functional is boring, and that useful and visually exciting are mutually exclusive. Simultaneously supremely functional and totally elegant, no two F!NK pieces are exactly the same. Each article is created in small batches of 20 to 100 units and individually hand-finished in the Queanbeyan studio/workshop.
When commissioned to create a jug by a prominent Canberra restaurant in the 1990s, Robert took aluminium tubing, an everyday sustainable material, and fashioned it into a sleek economically viable product. The Water Jug was the first F!NK product and is still the mainstay of the company. It is a striking practical object and encapsulates the qualities of F!NK + Co.: distinctive design, function and technical innovation.
In 2010, Canberra electricity, gas and water supplier, ACTEWAGL, commissioned a major installation work from F!nk: ‘The Journey’, a dynamic lighting sculpture that covers 300 square metres in a city centre building foyer. 37 ossolites range in height from 1m to 3m; LEDs inside the plexiglas forms change colour with preprogramed sequences and interact to viewer’s movement using five motion sensors. It is stunningly beautiful and mesmerising work of art - a fitting tribute to F!nk artistry.
Tragically, Robert Foster was killed in a car accident in July 2016. Today, F!NK + Co. is spearheaded by his partner Gretel Harrison. The company has continued to go from strength to strength as Gretel and the F!NK staff build on the legacy of Robert Foster.
Photos: Lean Timms