Surfboard guru is making waves with interior design

On surfboards, resin is used as an outer coating to give it a hard, shiny finish. The new walls are made of 100% bioepoxy resin with color pigments. Most resin products are small, like Dinosaur Designs jewelry or housewares, or niche items like chairs.

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

The job was equivalent to making 5,000 boards, Cox said.

“It’s a piece that’s going to stand out. People all over the world are looking at it and saying, ‘Wow, is that resin? That’s unheard of,'” Cox said.

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

In contrast, each part of the resin wall units has been made by hand. Ho said the wall was designed to be touched and aged like the old bronze railings of the existing art gallery next door.

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

Each of the 29 units fit together. Each had a different shape and required a handmade mold. Shelves have fiberglass added for added strength.

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

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

Shades range from a base of red, almost the color of an Aperol Spritz, Ho said, which echoes the color of the Sydney sandstone and earthen walls of the new building, and blush.

Each layer was cast in the 29 molds for 109 consecutive days from April 1 this year. Accuracy was key, Cox said. “If you’ve been half a millimeter past each board for 109 days, you’ll be 55 millimeters.”

There may not be wax or fiberglass, but everything Cox has learned about chemistry, physics and innovation since he launched Haydenshapes at age 15 drove.

“I’ve been working with surfboard resins since 1996. It’s a base material I’ve learned to work with over the years. It was about taking surfboard resin as a base formula and then figuring out how to adjust it based on shape and form.

Nick Carroll, Managing Editor at Surfline, has known Cox since his early days as an ambitious surfboard-making eyelet. He said Cox had an eye for detail and a willingness to try new technologies and approaches. “I wouldn’t underestimate her ability to branch out into galleries and fashion.”

The Hypto Krypto board challenged traditional surfboard manufacturing, which designed boards for more experienced surfers, Carroll said. The Hypto Krypto was a good entry board, but smartly designed to be ridden by more advanced surfers in tough surf, Carroll said.

Hayden Cox revolutionized surfboards.  Today, he tries his hand at architecture and design.

Hayden Cox revolutionized surfboards. Today, he tries his hand at architecture and design. Credit:James Brickwood

Hadyenshapes Surfboards launched a unisex ready-to-wear line this year, with plans to use scraps from gallery walls to make small furniture and other items.

Gallery shop staff now stock the shelves in the resin walls with books to sell to visitors.

Rebecca Allport, head of retail at the Art Gallery of NSW, said: “This is not your ordinary bookstore.” As the afternoon sun streamed through the windows, the translucent shelves shone.

Allport said the challenge has always been to find a synergy between SANAA’s beautiful architecture and the boutique, the first thing many visitors would see.

Resin wall units designed by Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier and handcrafted by Hayden Cox surround the new bookstore in the entrance pavilion of the Art Gallery of NSW building.

Resin wall units designed by Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier and handcrafted by Hayden Cox surround the new bookstore in the entrance pavilion of the Art Gallery of NSW building.Credit:Edwina Pickles

“I really think it’s a hit, it’s incredibly beautiful, but it’s very sympathetic to the architecture of SANAA,” she said. “I love the gradation of the color, I love the resin and I love how unique it is. It’s a work of art in its own right.”

Resin walls were designed by architect Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier and handcrafted by Hayden Cox for the entrance to the new Art Gallery of NSW building which opens to the public on the first Saturday of december.

Resin walls were designed by architect Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier and handcrafted by Hayden Cox for the entrance to the new Art Gallery of NSW building which opens to the public on the first Saturday of december. Credit:Edwina Pickles

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