MPavilion 2020 opens

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation today launched Australia’s most loved architecture and design event—MPavilion 2020. From Thursday 12 November 2020 to Monday 5 April 2021, the amplified cultural program responds to the pandemic’s challenges by exploring design and architecture as a social practice and generously empowering hundreds of artists, designers, and performers both local and international.  

 MPavilion 2020 is programmed in November with the theme ‘Re-emerge: A Re-mix’—a theme about processing this pandemic time while considering a whole new kind of future. With a powerful number of over 500 collaborators presenting 400 free public events, including talks, performances, kid-friendly activities, and installations, the program is entirely online throughout November, before being online and in many physical locations taking over Melbourne’s city from December onwards.

On Thursday 12 November, MPavilion 2020’s Virtual Opening Night will showcase a moving performance by Noongar violist Aaron Wyatt (a specially commissioned piece by Deborah Cheetham AO), the first BLAKitecture event of the season, and uplifting reflections by eminent guests including, MPavilion founder Naomi Milgrom AC, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson, MPavilion’s former architects Amanda Levete of AL_A, Carme Pinós of Estudio Carme Pinós, David Gianotten of OMA, collaborators Aric Chen, Jill Garner, Fleur Watson, Honey Fingers, Sabina McKenna and many more.

Naomi Milgrom AC, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation founder, said: “MPavilion has been reborn and reimagined every season as a new and groundbreaking physical structure. MPavilion itself – as a concept, an ideology, and as a cultural phenomenon – is so much more than a physical structure, and in 2020, MPavilion is at its heart a way of bringing people together. This year, we look to the strength of our collaborators and the generosity and vision of our partners to lean into all the challenges of 2020 and create our boldest, strongest program ever.”

Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said: The Victorian Government is proud to support again this unique Melbourne institution – that shines a light on the powerful role design plays in shaping and enhancing our communities. Congratulations to the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and MPavilion team for supporting local artists and designers and making this year’s program more accessible.” 

November events include talks with British design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn on the role of her ‘Design Emergency’ project and Spanish architect and writer Andrés Jaque on the idea of social space in the ‘smart’ city. In partnership with Melbourne Fringe Festival, we see a discussion with art scholar Paola Balla on the complexities of being a First Nations woman and a talk on art in the post-COVID world with artists Luna Mrozik-Gawler, Priya Namana, and Fiona Hillary. RMIT Master of Fashion (Design) graduates premiere their work through the film First Look. On rethinking Melbourne’s car parks for future use, architecture firm Bates Smart presents a panel of experts including Julian Anderson (Bates Smart), Rob Adams (City of Melbourne), as well as international guests Alessandra Cianchetta (AWP-Architecture) from New York and Sarah Gaventa (Illuminated River Foundation) from London spark. Hope St Radio joins MPavilion to host a live broadcast straight from Melbourne Zoo, and a six-week DJ workshop takes a group of 8 female and non-binary participants from beginner-DJ-skills to gig ready! 

MProjects—a series of unique creations and residencies commissioned exclusively for MPavilion—includes performances by local musicians for MERGE (emerging musician program) and Walsh Street Music (a series recorded at Robin Boyd’s iconic South Yarra home, in partnership with Robin Boyd Foundation), the First Nations Early Career Writers Residency initiative, the BLAKitecture series of talks and events on Indigenous architecture, MPavilion education guides for schools, upcycled staff uniforms by fashion designer Chelsea Hickman, and physically-distanced stools for on-site events by interior designer and architect partners Holly Board & Peter Grove. Other highlights include collaborations with Bakehouse Studios, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne Music Week, and Open House Melbourne. 

MPavilion’s 2015 architect Amanda Levete of AL_A also commented: “Architecture touches on so many different aspects of what it is to be human, its culture and aesthetics obviously, but it is also politics, economics, urban planning, landscape, and history. It’s helping us find our place in the world with a very uncertain future, but it is so important not to lose confidence in what that future could be – and for me, MPavilion is a part of that.” 

MPavilion this year takes on a critical cultural role in the city by adapting its program to support community needs. In reviving Melbourne’s outdoor and public spaces, it examines adaptive re-use by engaging its original six MPavilions, as well as other significant, empty venues around the city. The November program is entirely online, and then December to April is happening both online and in physical COVID-safe locations.

MPavilion is supported by principal partners, the City of Melbourne, the State Government of Victoria through Creative Victoria, and RACV. 

To watch the November events, and for further information – including program times—please visit

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