We’ve been delighted to supply a range of our bamboo panels to a young, innovative designer in Timaru – who we believe has tremendous future potential.
Gus Leen is an Industrial Designer with a passion for creating ambient, sculptural lighting and furniture products in his joinery workshop, situated on his family’s farm. Here, Gus designs, prototypes, and manufactures his products, distributing them to stockists and customers nationwide.
Where it all began…
After creating a prototype “Conic Lamp” in his first year of study at Massey Universities College of Creative Arts in Wellington, Gus proceeded to further develop this design outside of his studies.
“As I was working as a labourer for a local joinery firm (Paterson Joinery in Timaru) after school and during my University semester holidays, I had the support, knowledge and machinery I needed to begin refining the design” he said. “I then cut out my first full-size prototypes from MDF, and once the design was ready for production, I proceeded to machine this from Plantation Bamboo’s 15mm Vertical Natural Panels”.
In 2015, Gus was in his final year of high school and was asked by his aunt to display a small selection of hand lathed Oak lamps that he had made at the annual Kings College Art Show in Auckland. In 2016, he was looking to return with a new lighting design, hoping that he would generate enough sales to help support his study in Wellington.
“After selling out at the show and networking with local Auckland art gallery owners, I returned home with multiple orders to fulfil and an opportunity to display my work in a gallery” he said.
Since graduating from University in early 2021, Gus decided to turn Form 53 into a full-time venture. “Throughout my time at high school and four years of study at University, I had purchased enough machinery to begin manufacturing all of my designs in my own joinery workshop, located in an old Hay shed on my families farm in Timaru” Gus said.
“Since then, I have had generous support from a wide range of businesses and stockists around the country who showcase my work and offer their assistance towards supporting my business” he added.
Why choose bamboo?
After doing some research and material testing, Gus was drawn to using bamboo plywood “due to its superior strength and distinctive grain structure. The unique checkered end-grain detail always delivers great customer feedback” he said.
“The colour of the natural bamboo panels also illuminates and reflects light beautifully when compared to competing plywoods. The joinery grade quality is also another key factor for choosing bamboo. When machining multiple 20mm curves out of Plantation bamboo panels, there are minimal imperfections to fill, resulting in a high-quality finish”.
To date, Gus has enjoyed designing and crafting bespoke light fittings – including floor, table and ceiling-mounted designs, cheeseboards and promotional coasters. “Looking ahead, I have plans for joinery, furniture, seating, tables and more” said Gus.
Where to buy
“I have a range of stockists nationwide which can be found on my website. I also sell direct to customers via my website and online store” Gus added.
“I am excited to announce that my showroom and design studio will be located in Timaru’s CBD. I anticipate this will be opening about March – April 2022”
To see more and contact Gus – see the Form53 website.