The surfboard guru making waves with interior design

On surfboards, resin is used as the exterior coating to give it a hard and glossy finish. The new walls are 100 per cent bio epoxy resin with some color pigment. Most goods made of resin are small, like Dinosaur Designs’ jewelery or homeware, or niche items such as chairs.

Cox and Ho wanted the work to be as luminous as the new art gallery designed by Japanese architects SANAA with its floating glass boxes going down the hill to Woolloomooloo.

The work was equivalent to making 5000 boards, said Cox.

“This is a piece that will stand out. People from all around the world look at it, and say, ‘Wow, that is made out of resin? That’s unheard of,” Cox said.

Ho’s studio had designed over 400 retail shops using more traditional materials that are conventionally produced.

In contrast, every part of the resin wall units was handcrafted. Ho said the wall was designed to be touched and to age like the old bronze handrailings of the existing Art Gallery next door.

“It felt like we had to do something that was almost like an art installation itself, which had the ambition and the challenges of a sculpture or an art piece with a sense of the unknown,” said Ho.

Each of the 29 units fit together. Every one was a different shape, and required a handmade mould. The shelves have some fiberglass added for strength.

Each unit has 109 transparent layers, where different colors were added like layers of beach sand in a bottle.

Each layer was added like beach sand to a bottle.Credit:iStockphoto

The shades range from a base of red, almost the color of an Aperol Spritz, said Ho, that echoed the color of Sydney sandstone and the rammed earth walls of the new building, and rise to a blush.

Each layer was poured into the 29 molds on 109 consecutive days starting on April 1 this year. Precision was critical, said Cox. “If you’re half a millimeter over on every single board over 109 days, you’re going to be 55 millimeters out.”

There might be no wax or fiberglass involved, yet everything Cox has learned about chemistry, physics and innovation since he launched Haydenshapes as a 15-year-old has led to it.

“I’ve worked with surfboard resins since 1996. It’s been a core material that I’ve learned to work with over the years. This has been about taking the surfboard resin as a base formula and then figuring out how to tweak that depending on the shape and the form.”

Nick Carroll, head of editorial with Surfline, has known Cox since he began as an ambitious grommet making surfboards. He said Cox had an attention to detail, and a willingness to try new technology and approaches. “I wouldn’t underestimate his ability to branch out into galleries and fashion.”

The Hypto Krypto board challenged traditional surfboard making, which designed boards for more experienced surfers, said Carroll. The Hypto Krypto was a good entry board, but cleverly designed to be ridden by more advanced surfers in challenging surfing, said Carroll.

Hayden Cox revolutionized surfboards.  Now he is trying his hand at architecture and design.

Hayden Cox revolutionized surfboards. Now he is trying his hand at architecture and design. Credit:James Brickwood

Hadyenshapes Surfboards this year introduced a line of unisex ready-to-wear clothes, with plans to use the offcuts of the walls from the gallery to make small pieces of furniture and other objects.

Staff at the gallery shop are now stocking the shelves of the resin walls with books to sell to visitors.

Rebecca Allport, head of retail with the Art Gallery of NSW, said, “This is not your ordinary bookshop.” As the afternoon sun poured through the windows, the translucent bookshelves glowed.

Allport said the challenge had always been how to have a synergy between the beautiful architecture of SANAA and the shop, the first thing many visitors will see.

Resin wall uinits designed by Hayden Cox with Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier architecture enclose the new bookshop in the entrance pavilion of the building at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Resin wall uinits designed by Hayden Cox with Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier architecture enclose the new bookshop in the entrance pavilion of the building at the Art Gallery of NSW.Credit:Edwina Pickles

“I really feel it is a success, it is incredibly beautiful, but it is very sympathetic to SANAA’s architecture,” she said. “I love the gradation of the colour, I love the resin, and I love how unique it is. It is an artwork in its own right.”

The resin walls designed by Hayden Cox of HaydenShapes surfboards and Kevin Ho of Akin Atelier architects for the entrance of new building at the Art Gallery of NSW that opens to the public on the first Saturday in December.

The resin walls designed by Hayden Cox of HaydenShapes surfboards and Kevin Ho of Akin Atelier architects for the entrance of new building at the Art Gallery of NSW that opens to the public on the first Saturday in December. Credit:Edwina Pickles

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