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  • (design.inspiration) matthew butler & helen punton
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(design.inspiration) matthew butler & helen punton







When I met Kate Bezar of Dumbo feather recently I saw a couple of Zaishu stools in her home. She was using them as bedside tables and stools. I was really taken by them. While Zaishu stools have been around for a while - they've been celebrated not just for their design but also for their eco credentials with an emphasis on social responsibility - I haven't seen them actually in someone's home before and I was excited about the potential of how they might work in my place. My bedside tables are looking way too chunky for their current space and the stools add a nice layer of texture and colour. Definitely worth investigating further. Although deciding on a design would have to be one of the hardest decisions. There are just so many and they're all amazing. Here is more about the founders Matthew Butler and Helen Punton.

Which five words best describe you?
Helen - independent curious creative super-trekking capoeirista.
Matthew - Daydreaming, tinkering, thinking, travelling, creating.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since then?
Helen - My first job would have been that of a 'Farmhand' - growing up in the country one of 3 girls you had to pull your weight, it made us all independent and we had no gender restraints. Trained in Graphic Design I developed the signage system for Melbourne's ‘Metlink’ public transport and exhibit design for the Melbourne Zoo. I have written and directing short films and curated exhibitions such as the Australian Design Exhibition ‘Modernwhite’ and ‘Sharpies’ photography at the Australian embassy in Berlin. I recently worked on a documentary film shot on location in 'The Kimberly' and have just returned from a 3 month artist residency with Zaishu in South America... por favour!
Matthew - 1985 Trolley Boy Coles Geelong, 1995 Production manager Tom Dixon England, 2005 started Zaishu.

What’s your proudest achievement?
Helen - most recently it would be glacier trekking in Patagonia
Matthew - planting an orchard and eating the organic fruit.

What’s been your best decision?
Helen - to go glacier trekking
Matthew - To live on the coast in Yamba NSW... and to sell my car.

Who and/or what inspires you?
Helen - travel, culture, food, aromas, nature and all types of ordinary folk.
Matthew - originality, authenticity.

What are you passionate about?
Helen - capoeira
Matthew - yoga

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt?
Helen - work is not the most important thing in life.
Matthew - internal success is better than external success.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Helen - Jesus
Matthew - Kraftwerk

What dream do you still want to fulfill?
Helen - learn Portuguese, travel to Brazil, ride from the north of Japan to the south, make new-media installations...
Matthew - to have a coastal view.

What are you reading?
Helen - How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything... in Business (and in Life) by Dov Seidman
Matthew - 13 Tonne Theory, autobiography by Mark Seymour from Hunters and Collectors.

Images courtesy of Zaishu
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