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Australis | A workshop of friendship, food and flatware

Taya Paparone - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Smoky foliage, gilded flatware, a table made out of a door and a love of contemporary Australiana.

Rhys and I met in high school, where we were attending under a fine art program. He was the superior artist by far, I had sort of scraped in by the skin of my teeth and my skills were, and still are, planning and concept driven. In other words, I know what to make, Rhys can actually make it.

Our almost 20 year friendship is built on a solid foundation of food and style. We made extravagant cheese boards to help us study for TEE and put post-it notes on design faults we found at the local shopping centre. We spent the entire year following graduation drinking Pinot Grigio and talking about fashion. We smoked Peter Stuyvesant Fine, had three courses at every meal out and spent all our wages on clothes and cocktails.

Our taste is not the same and neither is it different. I love flowers, Rhys loves concrete, but on many things, we unequivocally agree; Jane Campion films are to be revered and despised in equal measure, you can't listen to Radiohead on your own or in a group but they are superb, oysters natural, martinis filthy, fonts sans serif.

Career wise, our paths diverged but maintained the two major themes – Rhys took style and I took food. When he visited recently from his new home in Victoria, I was a few months into my first solo venture, Partaya, and he was Visual Merchandising Manager for West Elm in Melbourne (he has since taken a promotion to Field Visual Manager for Pottery Barn Australia).

With the good fortune of a West Elm treasure trove at our disposal, we seized the opportunity to grab an afternoon to play with food, cocktails, homewares and photography. We documented the day in the images below, shot by me at our friend’s home in East Victoria Park.

We aimed to style tablescapes and settings that could be easily emulated at home and used for dining with friends and long lunches. We embraced everything clean, new and native, maintaining a crisp edge around the natural and mineral qualities in so many of the beautiful products we chose. This is not a styled shoot as much as a way for two old friends to “art” together, eat sashimi and drink cocktails. Enjoy.

You can follow Rhys Duggan on Instagram @rhysduggan100

© Taya Paparone T/As Partaya 2016

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