Waratah Hills Cheese Trolley
- Designer Techne Architecture + Interior Design
- Tuckbox Design
An internal design competition at Techne saw team members submit a drinks trolley concept. Director Nick Travers spotted an elegant solution in Tim Angus’ design and it was presented to Waratah Hills Vineyard as a piece that could be customised to meet their needs – as a wine and cheese trolley in their cellar door. Waratah Hills Vineyard then commissioned the piece to be made.
The resulting piece is elegant and warm, and reflects a sustainable approach. The steel frame was conceived as an triangulated skeleton within which the boxy raw timber boxes would sit. Together they work in harmony to provide a rigid floating structure that celebrates the unique grain and character of the reclaimed Douglas Fir. Tuckbox’s exceptional craftsmanship enabled this simple design strategy to work beautifully.
Waratah Hills Vineyard needed a trolley that would support bottles of wine, cheeses, heavy stone working and serving platters and ceramic bowls, have flexibility in storage – and also be robust enough to support all this in transit. No such trolley exists in the marketplace. The Techne office design challenge was an effective way to find a solution, using the most relevant and appropriate materials and approaches for manufacturing to meet client needs.
The trolley’s functionality is equalled by its aesthetic appeal. It is constructed from a single piece of reclaimed Douglas Fir timber; copper electroplated steel rod and hand-stitched leather. The trolley is complemented by Carrara Marble serving platters, a Glass cloche and Mud Australia Ceramic bowls. Precision routing of the top serving plane allowed the stone elements to subtly drop into place. The polished copper finish and the fine frame structure are aligned with contemporary design trends that exists in joinery design, interior design and furniture design.
The impact of the design can be viewed from business, environmental and end-user adoption.
There was no prototyping or dummy runs in the fabrication, it was a single and considered process from beginning to end, to realise the outstanding outcome. This meant no waste. The frame was fabricated in a series of parts from solid bar, then welded, ground smooth and highly polished before being copper plated. The final finish involved careful hand polishing and a protective clear coat.
The trolley has reenforced Techne’s love of hospitality within the food and interiors culture of Melbourne and beyond and the trolley adds another bow to the well-known Architectural and Interior’s firm arsenal of capability. Waratah Hills Vineyard has experienced expanded interest from the featuring of the product on social and in traditional publications like Green magazine.
The engineering of the wheels in-house by Tuckbox was a new element to their furniture design business, and this design-lead transformation opened up new possibilities. As an industrial designer, Daniel was keen to explore the possibilities of elegant solutions to the engineering challenges presented by the trolley – the necessity for it to transport smoothly, appear light, carry glass and stone – and all without any off-the-shelf components.
The commission meant they could explore new manufacturing methods with their existing machinery, and investigate new approaches with materials. This in turn has informed and expanded their future design offering and capability, further integrating their approach to non-compromised design.
This is an elegant, warm and tactile concept. The importance of ‘ceremony’ is inherent in the narrative, from the metallic finishes to the glass cloche and marble slabs, enhancing the cellar door atmosphere and ultimately, the customer’s experience.
The potential for ‘positive weathering’ was an important element, as an expectation of the materials to age beautifully as the trolley gains character through usage.
The trolley was a labour of love for both Tuckbox Design and Techne, and a real example of cross-disciplinary design and understanding.
Tuckbox overcame structural and weight distribution challenges through the unique engineering of the large 20mm-thick, solid front wheels, The solution was central to the success of the piece, as it was needed to support the trolley’s cargo. Machined with discreet internal bearing hubs, the wheels provide key balance and solidarity to the trolley during operation.
Tuckbox and Techne were able to take this piece from concept to reality, without compromise and to an extraordinary standard, resulting in a benchmark-setting item.