20 Jul 2016

Robert Foster

By Deborah Clark

Last week the Canberra arts community suffered a death in the family. Robert Foster (born 1962), a leading international designer based in our region, died accidentally on 13 July. He was a gifted and innovative artist who found inspiration in collaboration and in furthering the possibilities of his own practice.

Robert founded his design company F!NK & Co in 1993 to manufacture contemporary tableware. The classic F!NK Jug in anodised aluminium was the company’s first product and is now regarded as an icon of contemporary design, seen in shops and restaurants all over the world.

Robert trained as a silversmith at the ANU School of Art and last year was named the university’s Alumnus of the Year for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was a luminary in the field of contemporary design, and his works are held in many international collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – as well as the National Gallery of Australia and the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

Robert’s exciting and innovative wider sculptural practice frequently employed light and included many commissions for hotels and commercial and public spaces; notably in Canberra the extraordinary Ossolites Lighting Project installation entitled The journey (2008), in the foyer of the ACTEW Corporation on Bunda Street in Canberra city.

The sad loss of Robert Foster is a blow to our community of artists and designers and to his friends and family, particularly his beloved wife Gretel and daughters Ineska and Mischa. Robbie was not only a terrific artist but a lovely man, friend, husband and father. He leaves a great legacy.