Women of Note: Annie Paxton


HomeField NotesWomen of Note: Annie Paxton


Annie Paxton | Multidisciplinary Designer

Inside Annie Paxton’s Carlton North apartment lies a gallery of prototypes, projects in the making, art and design books, textural explorations in softly lit lamps, and numerous sculptural stainless-steel chairs.

For the multidisciplinary designer the process is as much in the product as the material that composes it. The connection between thought, feeling, and touch, in tandem with the tension of time and environmental factors, informs the unique process behind Annie’s Vestige tables, Portrait mirrors and Column lamps.

Working with materials such as recycled aluminium, fabric, steel, and chain mail, the finished works convey a signature roughened beauty— simultaneously soft and abrasive, light and dark.

We spoke to Annie about her process, approach to dressing, how she spends her downtime, and what she’s looking forward to next. Captured at home wearing the Paper Dress and Ruched Tie Dress.


Location: Carlton North, Melbourne

Date: 24/01/2024

Time: 10.00 PM





Where are you from and where are you now?

I’m from the sunny side of the country – I grew up in Perth between the city and the ocean. I’m now living in inner north Melbourne, where I’ve been for five years or so now, so my idea of home is a bit of a split tether.


If you could only use three sentences to describe your path in life so far, what would you say?

Three words - intuitive, sporadic, assiduous. 


Can you tell us about your home, what is the view like?

My partner and I rent a beautiful deco apartment on a street lined with towering gums in Melbourne’s inner north. Complete with original mantles, deco lead lights, rendered walls and timber panelling, it has a beautiful warmth to it. Our living room has become a repository of prototypes and relics of half-finished projects – namely lots of softly lit lamps, and many sculptural steel chairs which our cats enjoy dancing between.


Alongside working as an architect, you run your own creative practice crafting furniture and objects from materials such as recycled aluminium, fabric, steel and chain mail. What prompted initial play with these materials?

It was a classic covid-catalyst story… I graduated from my masters in mid-2020 and went straight into full time work. I had a lot of residual creative energy - when you finish something so intensive and then find yourself in a lockdown (which was very severe here in Melbourne) with lots of time to think, design, make. I started testing ideas, and playing with forms and materials, which burgeoned into my little creative practice.







Does the material guide the design, or the design guide the material?

Material always comes first; it drives the process. I usually start with some sort of idea/concept, which is always tied to a specific material. I really enjoy playing around with the idea of process as a material, rather than a means of getting to the end result. My partner and I put on an exhibition as part of Melbourne Design Week 2022 called Vestige, which looked at how process can have a voice in the product. I’m interested in interrogating that tension between what is made, and the process that made it.


Where did your interest in architecture begin?

There isn’t really a particular project I visited or architect I admired, but always a deep interest in the way space is composed. I think I was drawn to the way architecture collapses a few disciplines – it’s creative yet grounded in critical thinking, technical yet poetic, practical yet a bit philosophical. The way space is composed, layered, sequenced is a delicate skill that can indelibly influence the way we move, inhabit, be in the world.


Who, what and where do you turn to for inspiration?

I tend to look more to painting, sculpture, words, rather than furniture – to broaden the way I can think about form, texture and composition. I always look to the classics - Scarpa, Botta, Magistretti – and I’ve always been drawn to the work of Fausto Melotti, Ruth Asawa, and Noguchi’s sculptural metal works. There is also something really rich to be found in textile and fashion design. The beauty of sculpting with fabric, weaving forms, creating textures… And, always coming back to words. Words help when images, sketches, drawings get too cluttered.


How do you unwind?

Tea, lots of tea. Wine. Lots of beverage-based unwinding.

A swim when I’m near the sea.


We had the pleasure of commissioning one of your vestige tables in our Jonson Lane concept store, can you tell us a little about the significance of cast recycled aluminium?

The piece was a bit of a feat for us – the largest cast piece we have made – she is a special one. I started playing with casting aluminium scraps for our show Vestige, which was to really foreground how process can be exhibited in the product. My partner, who is a talented fabricator and furniture maker, generates quite a lot of metal waste, so we were interested in how we can re-use the remnants of production into something that exhibits the process that made it. I’m really interested in time/process as a material in itself – pieces that reveal patina, the trace of the hand, textural irregularities.


As a multi-passionate and ever-evolving creative, are there any new mediums sparking your interest lately?

I recently made a ring, which my mother remarked is reminiscent of one of my aluminium tables… I would love to hone my skills in silversmithing. I guess I’m slowly moving down scales?


What is your approach to dressing each day and what is your go-to attire?

The weather, the mood, what I find at the top of the pile (!)

Lately you’ll probably find me in my beloved Proenza boots ~ they go with everything and make me feel instantly put together.


What do you listen to when you’re working?

Usually a dense podcast when I’m elbow-deep in making a piece – the attention shift helps lean into a kind of automatism.



What does a day in your life look like at the moment?

Running late to work and drinking too much coffee… A day at the desk, usually a few hours of sketching or sanding, and a lot of cat cuddles on the sofa.


When you have downtime, where do you spend it and what do you do there?

I try to get out of the city – camping somewhere along our beautiful coastline, or just reading in the park.


How do you find comfort?

Chocolate. And my cats.


Personally and professionally, what’s next?

Hopefully lots of travel. I’m getting a bit itchy.



Annie wears the Paper Dress in White, and Ruched Tie Dress in Black


See more of Annie's work here.

Images by Elizabeth Kaye Campbell. 


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