Stefan Lie was born in Sydney, Australia in 1968. Soon after, his family moved to Zurich, Switzerland where Lie was educated. In 1988 Lie undertook an apprenticeship in toolmaking, immersing him in the Swiss tradition of delivering design excellence in a pragmatic marketplace.
Lie left Switzerland in 1992 to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Returning to Australia in 1994, Lie undertook a Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). UTS is unique among global design schools: it draws on the design traditions of Europe and the United States while also engaging with the needs of Asian manufacturers.
In 1995 Lie received the Tetra Pak Design Prize, which recognises outstanding ability in a first year design student. Ribs - a sinuous moulded wood bench resting on a linked aluminium 'spine' - was launched in 1998. Lie subsequently received the Most Outstanding Graduate award from judges of the 'This Way Up' competition organised by the Centre of Contemporary Craft in Sydney (now known as Object, Australian
Centre for Craft and Design). With his degree completed in 1998, Lie took Ribs into production, and it was launched by leading Australian furniture retailer dedece.
In 1998 Lie was recruited to teach furniture design in UTS's faculty of Design, Architecture and Building and later to manage its Industrial Design Workshop.
Ribs was then purchased by Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and included in its permanent collection of Decorative Arts and Design. In 1999 Lie was nominated for Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art Seppelt Award, which recognises the most innovative contemporary designers and artists working in Australia and New Zealand.
While continuing to work in academia, Lie produced a range of furniture pieces. In 2002 the Swell Lounge, the Strip Screen and the Thong Stool were launched in dedece's Sydney and Melbourne showrooms.
In 2003 Lie was invited to participate in 'workshopped', an annual design event and exhibition showcasing emerging Australian designers during Sydney Design Week Lie produced a variation of the Strip Screen as a large-scale installation, which was mounted in Sydney's pre-eminent retail space, the Strand Arcade.
In 2004 Lie's work was featured in 'Sydney Style', an exhibition of work undertaken by leading local designers and craft practitioners. The Pila Seat, the Strip Screen and a limited edition of Ribs in polished aluminium were shown in the Sydney Opera House's Exhibition Hall. In 2005, Lie launched a jewellery range which he continues to expand.
2005 saw Lie develop the Genie Tea Pot. Classic Lie, the Genie Tea Pot presents a fresh, intuitive take on a common domestic object. Using slip-cast porcelain, Lie has produced an elegant, curving form with a push-down lid. The Genie Tea Pot was a finalist in the 2005 Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award. It will go into production shortly.
In 2006, Lie featured in a major exhibition curated by the Object gallery to showcase contemporary Australian design. The show - 'Freestyle - New Australian design for living' - toured throughout Australia, followed by London and Milan. Lie's work appears is the book (published by Thames and Hudson) anthologising the 'Freestyle' show.
In 2006 Lie was commissioned by the Spiral/Wacoal Art Centre in Japan to participate in the Rendez-vous project. Lie - already bilingual - thrived working in Japan. Provided with a brief to design furniture, home-ware and footwear, Lie will launch the Origami Slipper, ladies' leather sandals, the Koushi Floor Lamp and the Fukidashi Tea Box Set at the 2007 Tokyo International Gift Show in Japan.
Lie has the ability to work with the full range of manufacturing techniques to deliver cost-effective design, which these products showcase. The Fukidashi Tea Box Set is made from paper and wood, echoing the traditional techniques used to make Japanese shoji screens. At the other end of the spectrum, Lie's Strip Screen - made from inexpensive pre-cut plastic strips - is currently being considered for production by Cappellini, the renowned Italian furniture manufacturer.
2007 will also see Lie exhibit the Origami Slipper, ladies' leather sandals and the Fukidashi Tea Box Set at the Shizuoka Contents Valley Design Festival, which showcases the work local and international designers collaborating with Japanese manufacturers.
Lie's links with Japanese manufacturers continue to grow. Currently, the Spiral/Wacoal Art Centre is looking at producing an aluminium version of 'Ribs'. In recognition of his success collaborating with international manufacturers, Lie now conducts a master-class in furniture design for international post-graduate students at UTS.