hank

hank

Anyone christened Breeze has a bit of a head start, but apart from this one stroke of good fortune it seems that Melbourne-based Breeze Callahan has made her own luck.

One half of Melbourne-based design outfit hank, Breeze oozes optimism in that endearingly Australian way: earnestly, directly and completely unselfconsciously.

“I feel like I’ve struck gold,” she says when I ask her about working with her business partner, the equally eager soft-spoken industrial designer Christian Tucker. 

True, it seems an unlikely pairing at first glance.  A University of Canberra marketing and comms graduate, Breeze is a successful assistant film director (“organising them and running them a little bit like an event manager would run an event,” she explains) who has worked on box office numbers like The Chronicles of Narnia and Sleeping Beauty, as well as sets in some of the remotest parts of the country for indigenous productions like Bran Nue Dae. 

Christian, on the other hand, has worked in design consultancies in Sydney, Melbourne and Copenhagen designing everything from mountain bike frames to children’s toys. 

“Christian needs to know more than one fact about why something is the way it is, while I can be a bit more… ‘why don’t we just do this?’” Breeze explains.

Christian promptly cuts in: “Our personalities complement each other.”

Like all great projects, their design studio started in September last year because of a handful of friends who needed things.  First there was the interior designer friend who had visions of a bedframe that didn’t exist, then there was Christian’s sister who needed a spotlight.  Then, of course, there was Christian who wanted to get his hands dirty after a career spent in pure design, and Breeze, a great friend of Christian’s sister’s, who after a decade killing it on set was yearning to do something for herself.  (And let’s not forget Christian’s dad, a professional photographer, who took the product shots.)

While not yet officially part of the product line, the spotlight was their first project and exudes a certain ‘hankness’ - if it’s not too premature to be defining such a thing. Crafted from hand poured concrete and brass and touting a simplistic, minimalist aesthetic, the spotlight was the precursor to hank’s new hero product: a salt basin and pepper mill affectionately called Forbes and Ike.  

Crafted from New Zealand Beech, concrete, and brass, the most lust-inducing feature of the set is the location of the pepper mill's grinding mechanism -  at the top rather than the bottom to prevent tabletop pepper trails.  The set have been released in a limited run of 50, and the brass nut on the base of every pepper mill has been laser engraved with a number.

Forbes and Ike came about after Breeze and Christian posted an image of the materials they wanted to craft their next product from on Facebook and asked their fans to brainstorm ideas.

“We settled on [the salt basin and pepper grinder] because Christian loves to add some technicality into his designs,” Breeze explains.  “I’d been trying to get him to do a bowl and he wouldn’t do it.”

‘Technicality’ is putting it mildly.  Apart from the screws and ceramic grinder, Christian has designed every piece in the pepper mill, shaping brass, Beech and concrete with equal finesse – though he’s a little cagey on the method he uses to produce such dimensionally perfect concrete.  “Getting the three different materials to fit each other perfectly is an exercise in tolerance,” he explains.

Christian’s skill is an important part of the brand.   “What I have that other people don’t is a technical background,” Christian explains. “So there’s slightly more opportunity for us to create something with a technical element.”

He likes the coordination welding requires and was only too pleased to bring his interior designer friend’s bed frame vision to life, and incorporating skills like these will play an important part in hank’s long term product development strategy.

In the mean time, Breeze and Christian are busy working on some bespoke lighting for an interior design client and keeping up with demand for Forbes and Ike.

Breeze intended to call on her tertiary education to spread the word about hank, but she hasn’t yet needed to.  Only six months old, hank already has an impressive social media loyalty – owing no doubt to the pair’s trademark honesty and genuine excitement about what they do.  Not that they’re in a rush to grow too quickly.

“One of the reasons I do this type of work is because I love the idea of the old fashion craftsman the idea of the designer/maker, where you design your products and… well, make them,” Christian says. 

We’re with him. 

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Forbes and Ike are available now.