ALEXANDRA TYQUIN is an industrial designer on the rise. From the moment she decided to follow her dream five years after completing year 12, she approached her degree at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne with a determined focus and a drive to succeed.
“I knew that I wanted to do something creative,” she says of her interests which lay beyond fine arts and photography. This led her to realise that industrial design was the path that distilled design thinking and sketching into a tactile end product, a design process which had always sparked her fascination.
Natural talent and dedication coupled with a great work ethic quickly showed that Tyquin was a design student with a bright future.
During her second year of study in 2014, she designed and produced her first product; a faceted sheet metal coffee table made from folded non-structural steel, American Oak and toughened starfire glass. Lustre was a finalist in the annual VIVID Design Competition which showcases the best work of emerging Australian designers.
Having already established her own website, sales of the made-to-order tables followed with Tyquin making each one while juggling study and working at two jobs. Then a contestant on the 2015 season of television renovator show The Block came calling and Lustre was featured in a livingroom of the octagonal apartment building in South Yarra.
“It was pretty surreal. You don’t expect to get that call. It was quite overwhelming and I had to make sure the product was perfect,” she says.
The table received great feedback from the judges and Tyquin was asked if she would be happy to sell Lustre through The Block Shop.
“I got an overwhelming response from that. I didn’t sleep very much. It was really hard but it was a good learning curve in more ways than one.”
With 2015 already working out to be a big year, Tyquin’s HILDA side table was announced as a finalist at VIVID, shortlisted at Launch Pad, an annual program that supports Australian product design, and also featured in the same series of The Block and The Block Shop. By mid 2016 another of Tyquin’s designs was announced as a finalist at VIVID for the third year in a row.
Tyquin completed her degree and was nominated by her educators at Swinburne University of Technology, along with several of her peers, to submit a folio of work into the Industrial Design category of the annual Design Institute of Australia Graduate of the Year Awards (GOTYA). At the awards ceremony which was held in March this year, she was announced as the winner in that category and was then awarded the Overall Graduate of the Year for Victoria and Tasmania.
Luca Abate, DIA Victoria Tasmania Councillor and GOTYA Industrial Design Convener, said, “Alexandra, in addition to having some beautiful work, was the standout student because she reflects the new generation of industrial designer that needs to be highly adaptable with an unwavering enthusiasm to understand and deliver exceptional design solutions.
“Whilst studying she also ran her own furniture business and was able to reflect on the challenges she faced, not only related to design but also manufacturing, logistics and marketing. Her maturity, eye for detail and amazing motivation made her an outstanding graduate.”
Tyquin’s GOTYA submission consisted of the HILDA side table, SWIRL muddle and stir stick and TWELVE watch design. The SWIRL muddle and stir stick was a top five finalist in the Alessi Design Awards 2017, an Australia-wide design competition. Tyquin says she would like to refine the design a little more and then see where it goes from there.
For now, she is happily entrenched in the Melbourne office of Buzz Products, working hard and open to every opportunity that comes her way.