There are rare moments in the design continuum when the inspiration of a single artisan transcends that of their contemporaries and translates into a legacy destined to extend beyond the here and now. Such is the work of Robert Foster and his studio/workshop, F!NK Co. F!NK products are designed by Australian artists and most of the manufacturing processes occur in the F!NK studio. Each object is individually hand finished which results in an object embedded with its own unique characteristics - more like a piece of art. Founded in 1993 to manufacture beautifully-designed and innovative household objects, F!NK is not just a showcase for Foster's internationally-renowned exhibition pieces, but a production house for the work of an increasing pool of young designers, and a name synonymous with spirited and distinctive Australian design. F!NK fundamentally challenges the notions that functional is necessarily boring, and that useful and visually exciting are mutually exclusive.
While embracing and reinventing the urban and utilitarian, F!NK is shamelessly unafraid of running with quirkiness and frivolity that captures the heart and imagination. Each article in the F!NK array has a story of evolution and development, often involving technical and aesthetic innovation. Each radiates its own persona, reflecting the strength of its distinctive design. Lauded as works of exemplary contemporary design in the world's major arts institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra, F!NK objects offer more than just striking visual appeal and design innovation. The functional performance and quality of production and finishing are palpably important to the artists and the studio. It comes as no surprise that Foster was originally trained more than two decades ago as a metalsmith and has worked overseas with some of the world's leading design houses: Alessi (design and prototyping of teapots in 1996 and 2000) and Ingo Maurer (lighting prototypes in 2000). Supremely functional but never mundane, no two F!NK pieces are exactly the same; every design is a work of art and none is mass-produced. Each article is created in relatively small batches of 20 to 100 units at a time, and each is individually hand-finished in the F!NK studio/workshop.
F!NK is the promise of modern design excellence, uniting the utmost respect for the design ethic, the quality craftsmanship of yesterday's artisans, the innovation of modern manufacturing techniques and the wit and rigour of designer-founder Robert Foster.