BiGfiSh is made up of a team of highly skilled designers and fabricators:
Alfons van Maanen
BA Design (Industrial Design), RMIT.
As a youngster Alfons loved pulling things apart like his dad’s transistor radio, to see how they worked. Becoming an Industrial Designer seemed inevitable.
Upon finishing at RMIT Alfons was snapped up by the Design Director at Philips Electronics, Ian Edgar. After refacing endless permutations of Ghetto Blasters and detailing refrigerator door skins, he moved on to DesignLab, a design practice run by Gerry Musset and Phillip Slattery. An apprenticeship in classic industrial design work of the era followed. After DesignLab folded, Alfons teamed up with Gerry to create Form Australia. One of the project highlights was the design and delivery of a national rollout of new check-in counters for Australian Airlines.
In between time Alfons tutored at Swinburne Uni (Industrial Design Department), worked on construction projects and undertook countless freelance design projects including architectural, interior and exhibition work.
Somewhere in the mid 90’s Alfons joined BiGfiSh. Today he is its driving force. He brings
his passion for aesthetics and pragmatics and his tireless energy to every project, beginning with exceptional ‘old school’ hand drawn ideas through each phase of design development to construction and logistics.
Alfons occasionally tears himself away from BiGfiSh to pursue his other passion for motorbike riding. His favourite journeys are to remote areas of outback Australia.
BA Design (Graphic Design), Uni SA. Masters of Art (Art in Public Places), RMIT.
After moving to Melbourne in 1987 Renata completed a traineeship in Festival & Community Arts with an emphasis on design and prop making. She became Artist in Residence for the Melbourne Moomba Festival the following year in 1988 - 89 putting together a 1000 person strong entry into the parade called ‘Visions of Australia’. This led to the formation of an artists collective from Shed 14 in Victoria Dock and more work for events, festivals and exhibitions. This experience became the foundation for her work at BiGfiSh.
In the early ‘90’s Renata and partner Michael Blunden set up BiGfiSh in a disused factory in Footscray. In those early days Renata worked on every project from design to build and install. She has seen BiGfiSh grow from very small fish beginnings as prop & display makers to creators of diverse, complex and permanent features in public spaces. These days Renata’s time is spent on conceptual work and investigations, design and project documentation. Work on the shop floor is left to the specialists.
B.Ed in Language and Literature and Media Studies
After working in the education system as a Secondary School teacher for 6 years, Judi became a book editor before pursuing motherhood. While trying to decide what to do when she grew up, she fell into bookkeeping and financial administration and is still doing that more than 17 years later. Somewhere along the line she gained a Cert IV in Financial Administration and became a Registered BAS Agent. She has been working at BiGfiSh for 13 years and has stayed so long because they have let her and because she loves the people and the creative atmosphere. There is always something new being created in the workshop.
When she isn’t cooking the books at BiGfiSh Judi can be found at her scrapbooking desk making cards, or on the beach walking her much loved Aussie Shepherd.
BA Design (Industrial Design, Hons), RMIT. Associate Degree in Design (Furniture), RMIT.
Chris grew up in a tool shop in a town on the border of NSW and VIC. When he wasn’t playing with tools he was playing guitar, which remained his primary passion till the age of 25 when he decided there might be more to those tools...
In 2015 Chris set up a studio in the back corner of BiGfiSh with the intention of focusing on his freelance furniture design business. It soon became apparent that Chris and BiGfiSh were made for each other and he came on board as a designer shortly after. Chris brings a fresh, thoughtful eye to the design table and with his hands on skills, he’s able to realise a concept on the workshop floor. Chris sees BiGfiSh as an adventure playground for adults.
When he’s not working Chris goes likes to play music, watch music, and go on long rambling adventures (while listening to music.)
Guy Miller has a wealth of experience in the fabrication of custom structures for
public spaces, exhibitions, sets and architectural features from metal work, carpentry, fibreglassing, painting and assembly. His practical knowledge, problem solving ability and common sense are critical to our work output.
David Strachan is a qualified Sheet Metal Worker with the skills of a fine craftsman and Jinx Madacki our Boilermaker fabricates large, complex structures with apparent ease. Together they can make anything in metal from the intricate to the monumental.
Lachlan Currie is part of our younger team with a background in carpentry and general building trades. Lachie brings invaluable skills across all facets of production, and a healthy appetite for blues guitar.
Hugo Boswell loves welding and smacking steel. He arrived at BiGfiSh via the blacksmith forge down the hill, and is now learning to stand big things up. Always has a harmonica in his pocket, which would be cute if he was any good!
Raf Blunden pretty much grew up here. He's done a lifetime apprenticeship in BiGfiShery and now works across most areas of production.