The ceremonial suite for Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak.
The concept involved the design and manufacture of a parallel suite with the same proportions and the same (for the most part) detailing as the original for the Melbourne campus. A ‘sister’ suite was designed to exemplify the association within the Swinburne ‘family’, rather than creating a completely different design.
Two differences were:
The inclusion of two ‘Chancellor’s chairs, one with Australian identification for the Chancellor of Swinburne University and one with Malaysia identification for the “Pro Chancellor”, the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
The timber – Belian - was sourced from, and identified with, Sarawak – just as the original was made in Australian timber – Queensland Silk Oak.
The use of the rampant boar from the Swinburne crest would be reconsidered, using the hornbill, the state emblem.
The same team that collaborated on the first, Melbourne, suite also worked on this version;
Ian Higgs, Wood Artisan, travelled to Sarawak and spent time sourcing and working suitably seasoned timber. Belian is a heavy ‘iron wood’, highly prized and strongly associated with Sarawakian culture but not usually associated with the stability required for furniture production.
Hendrik Forster, Gold and Silver Smith
Sue Wraight, Netsuke Carver
Marion Marshall, Jeweller and Gold and Silver Smith.
The project was funded by the State Government of Sarawak through various of its foundations and instrumentalities.