Mpavilion Announces Annual Uniform & Music Commissions

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced the Uniform and Music Commissions for MPavilion 10, Australia’s leading architecture commission and design festival. DNJ Paper – led by Melbourne fashion designers Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran and Jake Nakashima-Edwards – has been awarded the 2023 Uniform Commission. Known for their paper clothing, the collaborative research project and micro-label will design the uniform worn by MPavilion attendants.

Yorta Yorta woman Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, will create her tenth MPavilion Music Commission with a new composition for the ongoing Wominjeka Song Cycle, which will debut at MPavilion 10’s opening. Both commissions respond to the design concept of MPavilion 10 architect and Pritzker Prize Laureate, Tadao Ando.

“The Wominjeka Song Cycle is a significant commission which Deborah has grown and evolved in concert with MPavilion over the past decade. Each song sonically represents a particular pavilion; together the cycle celebrates an enduring yet dynamic place and the knowledge we share and create in it,” said Naomi Milgrom AC, Commissioner of MPavilion.

“Each year, we are always thrilled to uncover new designers to partner with on the creation of the MPavilion uniform. DNJ Paper was selected for the unique synergies they share with this year’s architect. Their combination of natural materials with minimalist structure thoughtfully reflects Tadao Ando’s values and ideas.”


The Uniform Commission

Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran and Jake Nakashima-Edwards of DNJ Paper have designed a work uniform inspired by a Japanese-style work jacket called a samue. Their uniform is composed of a jacket made of green linen with a pink paper vest, made from one large sheet of paper, worn on top. DNJ Paper will produce 35 uniforms of various sizes.

DNJ Paper is using handmade yokono-washi paper made by the family-run papermaking atelier Ueda Handmade Washi Factory based in a village in Okayama, Japan. DNJ has partnered with Yasumasa, a seventh-generation papermaker to custom-make the sheets necessary for the uniforms. The paper’s pulp is made from the inner bark of the Mitsumata tree, sourced locally from the mountains around the workshop. Mitsumata paper is naturally off-white, so DNJ is dying the paper a rich pink using dye extracted from deadstock red polo shirts. Each MPavilion 10 uniform will use one full sheet of paper measuring approximately 60 x 90cm; this will then be dyed, stitched, waxed with Australian beeswax and finally heated in a custom-built oven to evenly distribute the wax and make it durable and water-resistant.

“Being selected for this commission is an immense honour,” said Mohajer va Pesaran and Nakashima-Edwards of DNJ Paper. “Our design choices respond carefully to Tadao Ando’s architectural concept. Some elements, such as the vest’s circular area with adjustable strap, were created in response to the forms in the pavilion. We chose light-weight linen to counter the concrete and wrinkled, waxed paper to bring a different texture to the space. We selected bright colors for the uniform in consideration of the light grey walls, incorporating garden colors inside the structure.”


The Music Commission

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO is a Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera. Since MPavilion’s inception in 2014, she has composed a contemporary musical expression of welcome in the traditional language of Bunjil’s River Country to open the MPavilion season. With each original work, Cheetham Fraillon responds to the MPavilion architect’s vision and design. She will create the tenth composition for the Wominjeka Song Cycle, which will be performed with the Dhungala Children’s Choir – the leading choral performance group for Indigenous children in Victoria.

“Ten years ago, Naomi Milgrom AC invited me to write the opening song for the first MPavilion and, in doing so, embedded a First Nations voice in this visionary project. With the guidance and deep knowledge of N’Arweet Aunty Carolyn Briggs AM, the Wominjeka Song Cycle has been a deeply considered continuous journey as I have responded each time to a new design, a new architectural voice,” said Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO. “Every MPavilion invites us to consider our sense of place and cultural knowledge through song in a location where knowledge has been transferred and culture has been lived for 70,000 years.’’


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