SEVEN architecture students in Melbourne have come up with a line of seriously cute fashion accessories and designer chic homeware.
Adopting a technology traditionally associated with industrial manufacturing applications, Labthreeofive has employed laser cutting to make personalised badges, necklaces, earrings, rings, placemats and decorative lamps.
It was in computer lab #305 (hence the namesake) in April 2009, that Samson, Christopher, Adelle, Beatrice, Matt, Rodelle and Samuel first translated their big ideas into these bite-sized gems.
They experimented with recycled materials such as scrap plastic and wood remnants, before settling on plywood.
As demand for their creations has grown, they have moved from computer lab #305, to a rented granny flat, and now, to their own studio in Richmond.
At their recent launch, the team showed off an installation they designed and made over six days as part of the State of Design Festival – a C-shaped creation wall comprising about 1200 triangles.
The business has served as an interesting aside to the architectural logic and structural forms they were used to dealing with, and it was their way of adding a dash of fun to the monotony of people’s daily routines.
“Only the technology here is constant, nothing else is,” Samuel tells us.
Designers laser cut every item by hand, which gives them a lot of creative space to realise even the most “random” ideas.
It’s also been about capturing mischievous moments from childhood and fun time with friends, pinning down a sense of identity through badges, drawing inspiration world architecture, and creating an imaginary world where aliens and monsters exist.
In a little over two years, Labthreeofive has managed to get their products selling in 14 shops around Australia, as well as in shops as far away as Singapore and Austria.
And like all brands with quirky, artistic appeal, they are a mainstay of the artists’ market scene.
So what’s next for Labthreeofive?
Well, for now the plan is to take things one step further and expand their lifestyle range.
We like the camaraderie and energy the team at Labthreeofive exude, and it’s exciting to see how they have embodied the entrepreneurial adage to dream big by starting small.