Barton is the creator of the Quark table which caught the eye of international Italian manufacturer Vitra.

“The Quark table was on show at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City, May, this year,” Barton explains. 

“It was from the fair that Vitra selected it for the 100-day exhibition called ‘second skin’ which will be held in Germany in 2006.”

Barton has recently set up a design practice in the United States and hopes to maintain his global clients from his base in Miami.

“After completing an apprenticeship in cabinet making in my home city of Perth, I spent a year and a half travelling overseas, visiting the United Kingdom and the US. It seemed a natural transition from maker to designer after being inspired by the design and architecture of London, New York City and Los Angeles.

“I took this creative energy back to Perth and completed my industrial design degree at West Australia College of Art, Design and Media. My focus for the graduate exhibition was to create a modern furniture collection that utilised materials in innovative ways.”

The Quark table won the student furniture award at the WA Design Institute of Australia awards in 2002 and the DIA Excellence Award.

“A few months after winning the award, my wife and I headed back to the States where I established my design studio in San Francisco. We recently relocated to a new ‘design district’ in Miami.”

Barton believes having his studio in the US places him closer to international companies looking for new designers.

“A main reason for starting the studio in America was to put myself closer to the international platform to show I was capable of taking on international projects.

“I recently completed a twelve month contract position for Gap Global Inc, in San Francisco, which meant designing and implementing a complete new range of store fixtures and environment for their 1200 stores across the US.”

According to Barton, the US provides him with a challenge to make an impact.

“It’s a very competitive country with so much innovation, which suits me. It also simply comes down to a numbers game, and with a population of around three hundred million it makes business success and continuity more achievable.

“My reasons for leaving Australia were both personal and professional. My wife and I decided to set up our careers here in the US.

Barton says his goal is to one day set up an Australian office and bring home his experience from overseas.

Having a background in cabinet making is a huge asset for Barton who likes mixing the creative with the practical.

“I relish having the ability to take something from concept to prototype with my craft base. This helps present a clearer insight to the product’s intent and direction. But it is also about my inquisitive sense, as I am forever engineering something to work – guiding it to actuality once it has left the concept stage.”

Barton describes his approach to design as a humanistic one. “My work usually encourages human interaction – while in use or not, by the application of recognisable materials with welcoming forms. I enjoy making the complex appear simple, the obvious more obvious and allowing the function of a product to seem effortless.” 

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