Nov 04, 2020

Broached Commissions Goulder Chaise Lounge by Jon Goulder Photo: Courtesy of Broached Commissions.

Creative Humans: Introducing Broached Commissions.

By Hello Human.

Here at The Humanist, we’re pleased to introduce you to Broached Commissions, the Melbourne-based design and applied arts studio. To tell you about Broached is somewhat complicated, largely because the studio is difficult to place in the proverbial box. Are they a design studio creating functional furniture products that one could buy or specify for a project? Well, yes. But there’s more complexity to the Broached story, particularly as it relates to the studio’s unique approach whereby they (and their creative collaborators) take on the role of design researcher, design historian and even critique the role of design itself in the products they create. Their final pieces, which are always offered as museum quality limited editions have found themselves exhibited in such settings - most notably in their “Design Storytellers” exhibition last year at the National Gallery of Victoria.

So let’s just say for now, that Broached Commissions is a design studio with a rather distinct cerebral approach. One that is unapologetically antithetical and that won’t be put in a box.

We talk to Broached Commissions’ Creative Director Lou Weis and Design Director Laura Clauscen to find out more about what fuels their practice, their interest in materials and why the phrase “design for good” doesn’t quite resonate.

Broached Commissions’ Creative Director Lou Weis with Design Director Laura Clauscen in Vogue Living May/June 2020. Photo: Michelle Tran.

Broached Commissions Recall Monolith in production. Photo: Claire Summers.


Broached Commissions

Company Founded



Melbourne, Australia


Company Profile

Broached is a research and narrative-driven production house. We commission and create collectible design and provide creative direction for public art and interior commercial spaces, such as hotels and hospitality.

Our research interrogates how design has participated in the great events that have defined the modern world. We see design not as a tool for good, but as a diverse industry whose primary role is the aestheticizing of power. We create works that critique the role of design, especially its largely baseless claim to a progressive legacy. This preoccupation serves as a springboard for the development and materialization of deeply informative and intriguing objects, exhibitions and spaces.

Broached was founded in 2010 by Creative Director Lou Weis and includes Matisse Mitelman as Broached Business, Laura Clauscen as Design Director, Joseph Gauci-Seddon as Design and Lana Jones as Research and Development.

Broached Commissions Prickly Lamp by Lucy McRae. Photo: Lucy McRae.

What makes you get up and design every morning?
Our ideation starts with reading and writing. We do not start with design, we start with the context that drives design. We love, in equal measure, the complete abstract starting point of research and finalising a sale. The sale is validation for all the hard work.

Whilst our pieces are expensive we are motivated by sharing the stories that underpin our collections. Those stories are important to understanding how history informs the present.

Is it the problem or the solution that fuels your design practice?
We are not interested in solutions, indeed we feel that design’s obsession with claiming it can provide neat, smooth solutions is perpetuation of a delusion that has gripped the world; a life without impossible. You can’t design out the ugly, the horrible, the unfortunate. We try to address the undesirable in our designs. Prickly Lamp or Briggs Family Tea Service, or Recall are all examples of this.

What’s your spirit material?
At present - Victorian antique furniture, made from heritage timbers largely logged into extinction as part of colonial conquest during the 19th century. Just as manufacturers recall faulty goods, Broached is recalling precious and discarded materials from design periods that have fallen out of favour and is correcting them within a current aesthetic.

A design/art/architecture project that you always return to for inspiration?
-The striking productions of Italian theatre director and playwright Romeo Castelluci are an ever-present source of inspiration.
-The cinema of Paolo Sorrentino.
-The literature of Dostoevsky, Walter Benjamin, Proust, Mallarme and many many others.
-Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss.

Three words that describe your practice
Experimental, narrative-driven and polemical.

What does the future of design look like to you?
Like the past.

How do you use design for good?
We do not do design for good. We doubt design has broadly ever been put to this purpose. We do design to promote the raising of awareness of design’s true role, which is to give form to power.

Broached wants a world where we do as little harm as possible; create as little, use as little energy and materials from the earth to deliver work with focus and intensity. We want prosperity without growth.

Broached Commissions Pankalangu Cabinet by Trent Jansen. Photo: Dan Hocking.