from then to now
F!NK + Co. was established by Robert Foster in 1993 in Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia, with the aim of creating a design and manufacturing business that would support and generate opportunities for Australian designer-makers. Joined by Gretel Harrison in 1995, together they built F!NK + Co. into the business it is today – a much loved and respected Australian design company with an international reputation for producing world-class tableware, hollowware, jewellery and lighting.
Be it the iconic F!NK Water Jug, the squashed Storage Vessels, the graceful Coolamon Platters, the Ned Kelly-esque Wine Chiller or the subtle curves of the Beaker, every F!NK product melds refined craftsmanship with shapes and colours largely inspired by the Australian landscape – tropical corals, fish and anemones, endless blue skies and vast ancient deserts.
F!NK is the promise of modern design excellence, uniting the utmost respect for the design ethic with that refined craftsmanship. This craftsmanship combines traditional artisanal practices alongside innovative contemporary manufacturing techniques joined with the wit and rigour of designer-founder Foster.
Tragically, Foster was killed in a car accident in July 2016. Today, F!NK + Co. is spearheaded by Gretel Harrison, who is not only the face of the company but who also leads a dynamic team of practitioners. The company has continued to go from strength to strength as Gretel and the F!NK staff builds on the legacy of Robert Foster.
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 Queanbeyan studio/workshop.
F!NK fundamentally challenges the notions that functional is necessarily boring, and that useful and visually exciting are mutually exclusive. While embracing and reinventing both the urbane and the utilitarian, F!NK is shamelessly unafraid of running with a quirkiness and frivolity that captures both the heart and the imagination.
Back in 1993 it was Robert’s intention that F!NK + Co would operate as a collective. The “+ Co” was important to him. Many of the much loved F!NK products created during his life were collaborations with other designers and artists.
Whilst Robert and his influence is irreplaceable, it is Gretel’s intention that F!NK & Co will continue that collaborative tradition, and in conjunction with other designers and artists will continue to produce innovative products that challenge, delight and amuse.
Since 2016 the staff and friends of F!NK + Co have gone above and beyond to fill the void left by Robert’s passing. Workshop Manager Bengt Cannon and the team’s commitment to the survival and future success of the company has been exceptional. The company has also made a significant financial investment in the workshop including upgraded equipment, new tooling and facilities.
It is intended that these improvements, along with the desire to continue Robert Foster’s wish to create a truly Australian design company manufacturing Australian made objects, will see F!NK + Co products adorn the homes and bodies of this nation and its people for many years to come.