In the early 1980s, Vashti Osterberg-Olsen, a fine arts graduate from the College of Fine Arts, met Robert Gonda, a commerce graduate from the University of NSW. Robert thought Vashti was odd but interesting in the way she examined everything around her, the rubbish accumulated in drain pipes, the bark on trees, the textures and patterns of fences. She took these observations and turned them into pieces of art.
Commercial Art Consultancy
Vashti exposed Robert to the arts and Robert explained commerce to Vashti, and the entrepreneurial couple combined their talents to start Australia’s first commercial fine art consultancy business. Di Emme provided services to the corporate and hospitality industries initially within Australia and later in Asia and the Middle East.
Creative Solutions for Design Professionals
From their experiences, particularly on large-scale projects, Vashti and Robert recognised the need for a one-stop shop for design professionals and Di Emme Creative Solutions (Di Emme) was born.
2D and 3D Projects from Imagination to Reality
Di Emme employed artisans and craftspeople as collaborators to assist design professionals to realise their creative visions, to take a concept from “imagination to reality”. The company had two main divisions. The 2D division provided painted and applied finishes, and created murals and trompe l’oeil. The 3D division built sculptural forms using carpentry, metalwork, fibreglass molding, indeed whatever a project required. The divisions were united under a common project management and design development service.
The company portfolio covers feature lighting, water features, sculptures, murals and themed environments. Di Emme has collaborated on many amazing projects over the years:
• Trompe l’oeil ceiling for the Empire Hotel Brunei
• Tang Dynasty bells measuring 1.6m high for the Natural History Museum Singapore
• Themed elephant enclosure at Taronga Zoo Sydney
• Native animal sculptures for Wildlife Sydney Zoo Darling Harbour
While Di Emme Creative Solutions continues to translate the concepts of architects and interior designs into realised works, the company is also pursuing another path. Through the Di Emme work, Robert and Vashti saw an opportunity for providing pre-fabricated artisan products for the design industry. They set about on R&D to create a decorative wall panels and artisan screens.
Stonini Decorative Wall Panels
Stonini is a registered formula and technology for producing pre-fabricated internal wall cladding. There are three Stonini ranges: 3D Profile panels that create a sculptural look; Delta panels that use colour and pattern to emulate stone; and Concrete panels that add an industrial concrete feel without the weight of concrete.
The Stonini technology supports ease of installation. The panels can be cut on site, are adhered with an industrial epoxy to a range of substrates, and can even be applied on a curve. The hardwearing panels are easy to maintain and have a Class 1 fire rating.
The StoniniTM team regularly release new profiles and finishes in line with trends in interior design and architecture.
Chiaro Screens are laser-cut screens for residential and commercial interior or exterior spaces. Vashti has designed a number of distinctive ranges inspired by the Australian landscape, flora and fauna, geometric shapes and the work of acclaimed Australian artists and designers.
The screens have been embraced by architects and designers for their practical and aesthetic qualities.
Robert and Vashti continue to travel a creative a commercial journey.