Josh Carmody & “Josh Carmody Self Portrait.”


Josh Carmody is a young furniture designer on the rise. I few days ago I spotted an article written about his Legless Stool {pictured above and below} on indesignlive and the next day one of Josh’s loyal friends was in touch about an interview on yellowtrace. I simply couldn’t resist as I am always inspired by young designers who are ambitious and giving it a go.

Josh’s Legless stool  has made the shortlist of SF2010 at Bungedore Woodworks Gallery, where it will be on display from 23 January until mid April 2010.

I am very excited to be able to share with you this very candid interview with Josh. He has a fantastic attitude and was an absolute pleasure to deal with. I wish him all the best for his studies and his furniture career. I have no doubt he will be very successful.

x dana


Josh Carmody & “Legless Stool”


Tell me a little about your background – when did you first decide what you wanted to do and what led you to what you’re doing now?

I have lived in Canberra since the age of 4. But I am moving to Melbourne at the start of February to begin studying a Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne.

Whenever I was bored in school, I entertained myself by sketching, either on or in my notebooks, or much to the distaste of some teachers, I would draw all over my right hand and arm.  Around the age of 12 or 13, my dad said to me that if I liked drawing so much than I could become an architect.  I remember that I liked the idea of designing buildings. Architecture has been the plan ever since.

As soon as I was given a choice in my school classes, I began focusing on art, photography, woodwork and design technology in an attempt to develop skills, which I thought, would be important.  I really enjoyed the design and woodwork classes especially the furniture design assignments.  But I stayed focused on the architecture goal.

After year 12 I went straight into a Bachelor of Applied Science in Architecture at the University of Canberra. Later in that first year at uni, my sister and brother-in-law asked me to design a dining table for there new apartment.  I took on this opportunity for a bit of fun and a chance to work on my joinery skills.  This was the beginning of my furniture designing and making business.

I stayed focused on the architecture studies, but kept designing furniture and working in a surf shop on the side. I tried to make 1-2 of my designs each year taking on small commissions when they came up.

Furniture design became a sort of productive break from study.  Whenever I got stuck on an architecture assignment I would shift my focus and muck around with furniture designs for a while and the come back to the architecture.

I finished my Bachelor of Applied Science in Architecture at the end of 2008.  In my year off, I decided to take the first two months off to go snowboarding in Japan.  When I got back I decided I wasn’t ready to work in a firm, so I decided to focus on my furniture design business.  I had a pretty straightforward plan which was to design and build some concepts and get some small commissions.  I wanted to focus on developing better joinery skills. On top of these goals I also wanted to develop a website to start getting my work seen by other designers.

The furniture designing business started as a bit of fun but it has turned into a more serious venture which hopefully will continue to grow.

“Legless Stool” & some of Josh’s early concept sketches for the “Legless Stool”


Can you describe what you are seeking to portray in your work? How do you describe your work/ aesthetic/ philosophy?

I think that so far, my furniture is a clash between two styles or types of furniture. There is the serious technical side in which I focus heavily on craftsmanship and joinery techniques.  Then there is the fun or playful side of furniture design where I focus on simple, subtle and quirky forms and functions. I try to find a middle ground between these.

I hope people of all ages like my furniture but I hope particularly that when young people are furnishing their first homes they would have a connection with some of my designs and consider furnishing their homes with some pieces that will last longer than some other furniture lines which are on the market.

What does a typical day involve for you? How do you work – can you give us an insight into your process?

I design at night because it is a pretty quiet process that won’t disturb people around me.  All my designs start in sketchbooks and are drawn in lead pencil.  I usually design while listening to music or watching/listening to the TV.  Once the forms and functions are developed to a point where I am content, I draw up the plans on CAD.

When a design is completely resolved I write out every step which will be involved in making the piece from timber selection right through to sanding and finishing methods.  Then I am ready to get into the workshop.

Daytime is the only time I can use my tools without disturbing my neighbours.  This means that I need to plan the tasks and goals for the day and work to meet them so that I make the most of my time.

Once I get into the workshop, I set up my tools, plug my ipod into the stereo and turn it up.  Then I get stuck into making. Once I start working I keep working through until about 7 or 8PM with a few short breaks.

Creative people often find it really difficult to network and promote themselves – how do you approach this side of your work?

This is definitely something I have had trouble with.  My networking and promoting skills leave a lot to be desired.

I decided that before I start networking and promoting myself that I should develop some resolved concepts and prototypes for people to get an idea of what I do.

My family and friends are all very supportive of my work.  So in the mean time a lot of business is from word of mouth.

My current approach to networking is just trying to get my work on display.  I have started to enter competitions and ask for help from people in the industry who I think might like my work.

What is one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?

Learn by doing.

“Butchers Block Table”


Apart from your work, what other interests do you have?

When I am at home and not designing or making anything, I would usually be playing guitar in front of the TV.  Otherwise I am out and about with my friends. During winter usually get to Perisher every second weekend or so to go snowboarding.  During summer I’ll spend my free days at Malua Bay on the south coast. Also travel is an interest of mine.  Ever since going to Japan in 2009 I have been planning a few different trips.  I just got back from Bali a couple of weeks ago.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

Banksy.  His work is really well thought out and funny.  I admire the level of organization that it must take to do his work in public without getting caught.

I like Tarryn Ruiz-Avila’s work, he is an artist based in Sydney.  I have only seen some of his work, but his drawings and prints are really different and interesting but in a fun way.

Alvar Aalto is my favourite architect.  I think he had really good organisational skills when it came to space.  I like the way he was successful as an architect and a designer.

Certain degrees of abstractness intrigue me, like Escher’s works.  They make me look closer which is I want people to do with my work.

Where else do you turn for inspiration?

I read most of the design magazines, which are available like Architecture Australia, Design Quarterly, Indesign and Urbis.

What are you most proud of so far?

Recently being featured on Indesignlive is an achievement for me.  I’m really excited to have designers looking at my work.

Getting accepted into uni to study my masters is also big deal for me.

Also the moment I sat on the legless stool for the first time.  I still wasn’t sure if it would work, but when it comfortably held my weight without a hint of movement I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.

What would be your dream project?

Having free reign on the design of a house along with the furniture inside it would be a dream come true.

What’s next – can you share with us some of your goals?

The next goal for me is to get one or more of my designs into a larger scale of production.  Another goal is to focus on my architecture studies and to learn a lot more about the entire architecture and furniture design industry from the inside out.

I also plan to develop some new designs and enter them in some of the upcoming competitions this year.

Detail of the “Butchers Block Table” and more of Josh’s sketches {notice the Kung-Fu Panda reference. Awesome!}

Let’s Get Personal.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Getting first tracks on a blue-sky morning in Niseko, Japan.  Then kicking back with friends at one of the local restaurants or bars.

What are some of your favorite local shops/ galleries/ cafes/ restaurants/ bars?

I-Trip-I-Skip is a local clothing shop, which I like. They stock local labels mixed and a few larger names.

La Capanna in Kingston is a restaurant where my family and I go regularly and have done so for as long as I can remember.  I love their pizzas.

Kightsbridge Penthouse in Braddon ACT. Hippo Bar in Canberra City. Both bars have a really relaxed and fun vibe.  The drinks and music are always good too.

What is your most treasured belonging?

My guitar.  It has a really good sound and looks nice too.

What makes you laugh?

The misadventures of my friends and I.  Also the antics of my dogs and cats keep me entertained.  They all have their quirks so its fun to hang out with them and watch them stir each other up.

“Elwood Chair” & more sketches {I love the coffee stains – keeping it real.}


{All images courtesy of Josh Carmody}

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

6 Responses

  1. yellowtrace

    Thank you Tom and Vicki – I’m sure Josh will be very happy to hear that you like the interview. And Vicki, I’m so happy to hear that you like the blog :)

    Dear shoe lover – glad you like the blog template. It’s one of many free WordPress templates, although I had it customised quite a bit so you probably won’t be able to find one that looks exactly like this {which was kind of the whole point}.



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